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THE    PRIVATE    PALACES 
OF    LONDON 


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THE    PRIVATE 

PALACES  (?/ LONDON 

PAST  AND  PRESENT 


BY 


E.   BERESFORD   CHANCELLOR,  M.A. 

F.R.  Hist.  Soc. 

AUTHOR  OF  "THE  HISTORY  OF  THE  SQUARES  OF  LONDON,"  ETC.    ETC. 


'■  A  good  house  is  a  great  comfort  ,   .    .   and  among  the  few  felicilies 
thai  money  nu'di procure." — Mrs.  Montagu. 


WITH   FORTY-FOUR   ILLUSTRATIONS 


LONDON 
KEGAN   PAUL,  TRENCH,  TRUBNER  Gf  CO.   L'^'' 

DRYDEN    HOUSE,  GERRARD   STREET,  W. 
1908 


•^<f> 


The  rights  of  translation  and  of  reproduction  are  reserved 


Printed  by  Ballantyne,  Hanson  &>  Co. 
At  the  Ballantyne  Press,  Edinburgh 


LIBRARY 

UNivrpnivv  c;  California 

SANTA  BARBARA 


TO 

R.    T.    PORTER,    Esq. 

WITH   AFFECTIONAIE    REGARD 
FROM 

THE   AUTHOR 


PREFACE 


IN  this  work  I  have  endeavoured  to  rehabilitate  in  some  way  the 
characteristics  of  the  more  important  of  the  famous  London  houses 
which  have  long  since  passed  away,  as  well  as  to  give  an  account  of 
the  annals  of  those  which  still  remain ;  together  with  references  to 
the  notable  people  who  have,  from  time  to  time,  been  connected  with 
them.  So  far  as  existing  mansions  are  concerned,  I  have  also  attempted 
to  give  some  idea  of  the  beautiful  objects  which  are  contained  in  them — 
particularly  the  pictures,  without  setting  down  mere  lists  of  painter's 
names  and  subjects  treated ;  and  I  have  tried,  by  producing,  where 
possible,  some  interesting  provenance,  or  by  connecting  these  works  of 
art  with  some  interesting  figure,  to  avoid  making  my  account  of  them 
a  merely  bald  catalogue  which,  valuable  as  such  a  compilation  is  in  itself, 
is  rarely  very  exhilarating  to  the  general  reader. 

The  difficulty,  which  it  would  be  mere  affectation  to  ignore,  of  doing 
this  has  been  so  largely  modified  by  the  generous  help  extended  to  me 
by  the  owners  of  the  great  mansions  I  have  described,  that  I  feel  that 
if  I  have  attained  any  measure  of  success  it  is  due  to  their  kindness,  and 
to  the  interest  they  have  shown  in  this  work.  Many  of  them  have 
afforded  me  personal  help ;  many  have  placed  at  my  disposal  privately 
printed  catalogues,  and  have  permitted  documents  to  be  searched  for 
the  elucidation  of  some  obscure  point  in  the  history  of  their  mansions, 
and  have,  besides,  given  me  other  aids  to  accuracy  of  description  ; 
while  all  of  them  have  permitted  me  to  see  all  I  wanted  to  see,  and  to 
describe  all  I  have  attempted  to  describe  ;  and  I  here  most  gratefully 
acknowledge  their  many  kindnesses. 

My  thanks  are  also  due  to  many  of  the  private  secretaries  and  other 
representatives  of  these  owners,  who  have  also  aided  me  in  my  researches. 

With  regard  to  the  chapter  on  the  old  houses  in  Whitehall,  I  have,  of 
course,  largely  based  it  on  that  portion  of  Canon  Sheppard's  The  Old  Royal 
Palace  of  Whitehall  which  specifically  deals  with  them,  and  is  par- 
ticularly rich  in  its  record  of  old  leases  and  other  documentary  evidence, 
without  which  it  would  have  been  impossible  to  give  in  many  instances 
a  connected  genealogy  of  these  interesting  residences.     I  have  browsed 


viii  .  PREFACE 

much  here,  and  with  a  Hght  heart,  because  I  received  the  author's  generous 
and  ungrudging  permission  to  do  so. 

So  far  as  the  past  private  palaces,  other  than  those  in  Whitehall,  are 
concerned  I  have  made  use  of  the  rich  topographical  hterature  dealing 
with  London  which  we  possess  ;  but,  as  usual,  to  no  one  work  am  I 
more  indebted  than  to  Mr.  Wheatley's  London  Past  and  Present. 

Waagen  and  Passavant,  Smith  and  Mrs.  Jameson,  have  helped  me 
much  with  regard  to  the  great  picture  collections  I  have  had  occasion 
to  deal  with ;  while  from  innumerable  other  works  on  art  and  artists 
I  have  culled  here  and  there  a  fact  which  has  often  enabled  me  to  say 
something  more  about  a  picture  than  to  merely  set  down  the  name  of 
its  painter  or  the  nature  of  its  subject. 

I  am  only  too  well  aware  that  I  might  have  done  better — but  I  have 
done  as  well  as  I  could,  and  above  all  I  have  endeavoured  to  "  set  down 
nought  in  malice  "  ;  and  if  among  my  readers  there  be  some  to  whom 
what  I  try  to  describe  is  well  known,  and  therefore  vieux  jeti,  I  would 
ask  them  to  remember  that  my  chief  aim  has  been  to  make  known  to 
those  who  may  not  be  so  familiar  with  these  great  houses,  the  beautiful 
things  that  are  contained  in  them,  and  the  intrinsic  interest  that  centres 
in  each. 

With  regard  to  the  illustrations  of  this  book  the  first  ten  are  repro- 
ductions from  old  prints  and  drawings  in  the  Grace  Collection ;  those 
of  the  three  pictures  in  the  Bridgewater  House  Gallery  are  from 
photographs  taken  by  Mr.  J.  F.  Hollyer  of  9  Pembroke  Square, 
Kensington ;  while  those  of  the  interiors  and  exteriors  of  the  various 
houses  are  reproduced  from  photographs  taken  by  Messrs.  Bedford 
Lemere  &  Co.  of  147  Strand,  W.C,  Mr.  H.  N.  King  of  8  Avenue 
Road,  Shepherd's  Bush,  and  Mr.  Reginald  Haines  of  4  Southampton 
Row.  All  these  photographs  are  copyright,  and  I  wish  to  associate 
myself  with  my  publishers  in  acknowledging  the  courtesy  of  the  above- 
named  gentlemen  in  allowing  these  reproductions  to  illustrate  so 
graphically  my  pages. 

E.  B.  C. 

Sept.  15,  1908. 


INTRODUCTION 

IF  we  sought  for  one  particular  feature  distinguishing  London  from 
the  other  capitals  of  Europe,  apart  from  its  immense  proportions, 
it  would  probably  be  found  in  the  number  of  its  large  houses  many 
of  which  are  indeed  the  private  palaces  that  I  have  here  called  them. 

The  chief  streets  of  the  Metropolis  are  easily  equalled  and  excelled 
by  those  in  Paris,  Berlin,  and  Vienna  ;  its  churches,  numerous  as  they  are, 
and,  in  many  cases,  architecturally  fine,  can  hardly  compare  with  those 
in  many  of  the  lesser  continental  towns  ;  its  parks  and  open  spaces  do 
not  greatly  excel  in  beauty  those  of  Brussels  or  Paris  ;  but  its  great  houses 
are,  as  they  have  always  been,  a  distinctive  note  in  the  picture,  and, 
mutatis  mutandis,  may,  in  many  cases,  compare  with  those  palaces  for 
which  Venice  was  once  famous.  But  there  is  this  difference  between 
these  mansions  on  the  banks  of  the  Thames  and  those  on  the  shores  of  the 
Adriatic ;  the  latter  have  in  most  instances  passed  from  their  once  high 
estate  to  more  utilitarian  uses,  and  their  chief  glory  lies  in  the  beauty  of  their 
exteriors ;  whereas,  if  the  majority  of  the  London  palaces  cannot  lay  claim  to 
such  outwardly  striking  attributes,  nearly  every  one  of  them  contains  such 
a  wealth  of  beautiful  objects — pictures,  furniture,  china,  and  a  thousand 
and  one  objets  d'art — that  they  may  defy  comparison  with  the  chateaux  of 
France,  and  even  with  Venetian  palazzi  in  the  days  of  their  prosperity. 

In  many  cases,  too,  these  old  houses  remain  in  the  hands  of  the  great 
families  whose  names  have  been  associated  with  them  for  generations, 
and  where  this  is  not  the  case,  they  have  been  lucky  enough  to  pass  into 
the  possession  of  those  whose  instinct  and  pride  it  seems  to  be  to  preserve 
intact  the  past  traditions  connected  with  them. 

Here  and  there,  indeed,  we  find  some  great  mansion  which  has  had  a 
later  genesis  in  the  accumulation  of  wealth  ;  others  that  have  passed 
into  alien  hands ;  but  in  either  case,  as  if  a  tutelary  deity  had  guarded  the 
ghosts  that  haunt  its  stones  or  the  spot  on  which  it  has  been  raised,  its 
owners  have  either  emulated  the  spirit  of  an  earlier  day  by  filling  it  with 
the  precious  relics  of  antiquity,  or  have  preserved  with  reverent  care  its 
former  characteristics,  and  have,  in  many  cases,  restored  to  their  old  home 
those  treasures  of  art  which  formed,  in  a  bygone  age,  its  chief  adornment, 
and  which  in  the  course  of  time  had  been  alienated,  for  a  period,  from  it. 


X  INTRODUCTION 

Subject  to  the  inevitable  fate  which  it  would  seem  must  almost 
necessarily  overtake  even  the  finest  buildings  of  this  kind  in  a  great  and 
growing  city  like  London,  some  of  the  great  houses  that  have  remained 
till  within  our  own  recollection  in  private  hands,  have  either  passed  away 
or  have  been  converted  to  alien,  if  so  far  as  the  general  public  is  concerned 
better,  uses.  Harcourt  House  in  Cavendish  Square,  which  is  to-day  repre- 
sented by  a  huge,  and  considering  its  position  in  such  a  "  quadrate,"  incon- 
gruous block  of  residential  flats,  and  Ashburnham  House,  once  at  the 
corner  of  Hay  Hill  and  Dover  Street,  have  been  subjected  to  such  a  trans- 
formation ;  the  wonderful  Northumberland  House  at  Charing  Cross  is  now 
almost  forgotten,  so  entirely  has  the  remembrance  of  its  Jacobean  fa9ade 
and  its  famous  Lion  been  effaced  by  building  development,  and  the  con- 
struction of  the  street  that  by  its  name  alone  preserves  its  fleeting  memory ; 
while  many  of  the  great  houses  in  Whitehall  have  either  entirely  dis- 
appeared or  have  been  transformed  into  portions  of  Government  offices, 
curiously  intermixed  with  more  modern  and  elaborate  erections,  so  that 
they  have  the  air  of  some  human  relic  of  an  earlier  period,  who  has 
"  out-stayed  his  welcome  while,"  and  still  wears  the  garb  of  a  day  that 
is  gone. 

But  besides  these  which  we  have  ourselves  seen  pass  away  or  suffer 
a  change  as  startling  as  it  seems  inevitable,  there  remains  to  be  recorded 
a  large  number  of  great  houses  which  are  known  to  us  merely  by  the 
pencil  of  the  artist  or  the  pen  of  the  topographer. 

In  the  first  place  there  is  the  remarkable  series  of  noble  mansions 
which  once  existed  in  the  heart  of  the  City  itself.  These  old  private 
palaces,  or  Inns  as  they  were  formerly  called,  once  shed  lustre  over  streets 
now  so  wholly  commercial  as  the  Minories  or  Aldersgate  Street,  and 
districts  now  so  unfashionable  as  Clerkenwell  and  Holborn  ;  then  there 
was  that  long  line  of  palaces  which  extended  on  the  south  side  of  Fleet 
Street  and  the  Strand,  from  Devonshire  House  which  occupied  a  large 
portion  of  the  site  of  the  present  Devonshire  Square,  to  York  House 
the  magnificent  residence  of  the  briUiant  Buckingham  the  memory  of 
whose  more  than  royal  establishment  is  to-day  preserved  only  by  the 
names  of  the  streets  that  exhaust  the  words  of  his  chief  title.  Where 
now  are  Bedford  House  and  Montagu  House,  in  Bloomsbury,  which 
in  their  day  were  so  much  the  wonders  of  London,  that  foreigners 
were  wont  to  be  taken  to  see  them  as  among  the  great  sights  of  the 
capital  ?  Where  is  Clarendon  House,  which,  immemor  sepulcri,  the  great 
Chancellor  raised  at  infinite  pains  and  expense,  and  could  hardly  be  said 
to  have  inhabited,  and  which  in  the  eyes  of  popular  indignation  was  a 
concrete   proof   of   his    time-serving   and    apostacy  ?     "  Where    are    the 


INTRODUCTION  xi 

snows  of  yester-year  ?  "  You  shall  as  soon  find  them  as  you  shall  Troy, 
or  the  traditional  Maypole  of  the  Strand  ! 

And  then  there  are  those  great  mansions  that  either  exist  in  the  shape 
of  more  recent  erections  on  their  sites  ;  or  those  which  have,  by  a  process 
of  rebuilding,  lost  their  original  characteristics,  and  have  become  identified 
with  other  usage.  Of  the  former,  there  comes  to  mind  Berkeley  House, 
the  splendid  forerunner  of  the  present  Devonshire  House,  and  old 
Montagu  House,  Whitehall,  on  the  site  of  which  the  far  more  magnificent 
present  Montagu  House  now  stands ;  among  the  latter  may  be  men- 
tioned Burlington  House,  over  which  the  architect-earl  who  built  it  took 
such  infinite  pains,  and  which  is  now,  with  its  added  Piccadilly  front,  the 
home  of  the  Royal  Academy,  and  the  headquarters  of  several  learned 
societies  ;  and  Melbourne  House,  once  the  home  of  Lord  Melbourne  (not 
the  Prime  Minister  but  his  father),  and  afterwards  exchanged  by  him  with 
the  Duke  of  York  for  York  House,  Piccadilly,  which  is  now  known  to  all 
Londoners  as  "  The  Albany,"  from  the  Royal  Duke's  second  title.  Then 
there  is  Newcastle  House  in  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields,  the  former  town  resi- 
dence of  the  eccentric  Duke  of  Newcastle,  the  hero  of  half-a-hundred 
stories,  but  now  the  splendid  legal  offices  of  a  well-known  firm  ;  and 
Uxbridge  House,  in  Burlington  Gardens,  the  fine  work  of  Vardy  and 
Bonomi,  to-day  occupied  as  the  Western  Branch  of  the  Bank  of  England ; 
and,  to  mention  but  one  more  instance,  there  is  Schomberg  House,  Pall 
Mall,  of  which  but  a  fragment  remains,  but  which  is  sufficient  to  enable 
us  to  realise  how  imposing  must  have  been  the  entire  building  before 
the  War  Office  alienated  its  centre  and  east  wing. 

But,  notwithstanding  all  these,  and  how  many  others,  that  have 
passed  away  or  have  been  converted  by  the  exigencies  of  time  into  other 
uses,  so  many  great  mansions  are  still  with  us,  most  of  them  fraught 
with  historic  memories,  most  of  them  haunted  by  the  ghosts  of  the  great 
and  beautiful  of  a  past  day,  all  of  them  filled  with  such  a  wealth  of 
splendid  objects  the  outcome  of  the  artistic  endeavour  of  all  ages  and 
of  all  countries,  that  London,  as  I  began  by  saying,  may  still  glory  in  the 
possession  of  an  unrivalled  series  of  private  palaces. 

Nothing  helps  to  show  more  clearly  the  vagaries  of  fashion  in  the 
matter  of  residential  locality,  or  the  unhasting,  unresting  flow  of  citizens 
westward,  than  the  relative  position  occupied  to-day  by  these  great 
houses,  with  that  occupied  by  their  forerunners.  As  we  have  seen,  the 
City  was  naturally,  when  we  remember  the  limitations  of  London  in 
those  days,  the  first  fashionable  quarter ;  as  time  went  on  some  more 
daring  spirits  ventured  so  far  westward  as  Charing  Cross  and  the  Strand ; 
others  selected  the  open  country  of  Bloomsbury  ;    and  yet  others  found 


xii  INTRODUCTION 

their  way  into  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields  ;  but  with  the  reign  of  Charles  II. 
and  the  inception  of  St.  James's  Square  by  Lord  St.  Albans,  the  inaugura- 
tion of  the  west  end,  somewhat  as  we  know  it  to-day,  began,  and  the 
great  houses  of  Piccadilly  sprang  into  existence.  Later  still,  when  Sir 
Richard  Grosvenor  commenced  the  development  of  the  immense  property 
now  covered  by  Mayfair,  which  had  come  to  him  through  Mary  Davies, 
an  impulse  was  given  to  the  erection  of  fine  houses  in  this  quarter,  and 
even  the  magnificent  Chesterfield — the  glass  of  fashion  and  the  mould  of 
form — did  not  disdain  to  erect  the  splendid  mansion  which  luckily  still 
exists  although  shorn  of  its  ample  gardens,  in  a  spot  where,  as  he  once 
humorously  said,  thieves  and  murderers  so  abounded  that  he  would  be 
obliged  to  keep  a  watch-dog. 

Nowadays,  however,  the  case  is  very  different.  The  private  palaces 
of  London  cluster  together,  if  not  within  that  circumscribed  radius 
which  Theodore  Hook  considered  the  quintessence  of  fashion,  at  least 
within  what  we,  in  our  enlarged  ideas,  are  apt  to  regard  as  the  centre 
of  fashionable  life.  Piccadilly  and  Park  Lane,  and  the  area  known  as 
Mayfair  of  which  these  famous  thoroughfares  form  two  sides,  and  their 
immediate  vicinity  is  where  we  must  now  look  for  the  residences  of  the 
wealthy  and  the  great.  True  there  are  some  splendid  houses  north  of 
Oxford  Street ;  there  is  Portman  House,  in  Portman  Square,  and  Hertford, 
formerly  Manchester,  House  in  Manchester  Square,  although  this  is  now, 
of  course,  a  public  gallery,  to  name  but  these  ;  there  is  Montagu  House 
in  Whitehall,  and  there  are  the  magnificent  dwellings  in  Belgravia ;  but, 
so  far  as  the  great  mansions  with  which  I  here  deal  are  concerned,  it  is 
in  the  more  restricted  area  that  we  shall  chiefly  find  them. 

And  this  brings  me  to  the  subject  of  the  selection  I  have  made.  In 
the  first  place,  it  was  obviously  impossible  to  be  exhaustive  ;  I  mean, 
to  deal  with  every  great  house  in  London  which,  either  from  its  associa- 
tions, or  from  the  beauty  and  interest  of  its  contents,  might  seem  to  have 
claimed  a  place  in  these  pages. 

With  regard  to  the  mansions  which  are  no  longer  in  existence, 
I  have  endeavoured  to  say  something  about  the  most  interesting  and 
the  most  important  of  them,  but  I  have  not  said  anything  about  those 
that  once  congregated  together  in  Chelsea,  for  two  reasons  ;  in  the  first 
place  because,  although  many  of  them  were  fraught  with  interest,  they 
were  none  of  them  of  such  magnitude  as  to  be  considered  exactly  as 
palaces,  although  parenthetically  I  am  aware  that  in  the  case  of  some  I 
have  included,  a  somewhat  wide  extension  of  this  term  has  been  necessary  ; 
and  secondly  because  they  were  in  former  days  looked  upon  as  suburban 
residences,  many  of  their  owners  at  the  same  time  alternately  occupying 


INTRODUCTION  xiii 

houses  in  London  itself  ;  while  their  sites  have  only  become  incorporated 
with  the  City  by  its  extraordinary  extension  in  more  recent  days.^  For 
the  same  reason,  as  well  as  for  the  better  one  that  it  has  had  a  book 
specially  devoted  to  it,  I  omit  the  beautiful  and  particularly  interesting 
Holland  House  from  this  work. 

Again  there  are  a  number  of  great  houses  in  Belgravia,  which  from 
their  size  at  least  might  have  been  thought  appropriate  for  inclusion 
here  ;  but  it  is  only  their  size  that  would  under  any  circumstances  give 
them  a  claim  to  be  included  in  these  pages,  for  necessarily  from  the  re- 
latively recent  development  of  the  ground  on  which  they  stand,  they 
can  pretend  to  no  historic  interest,  and  such  splendid  piles  as  Seaford 
House,  Belgrave  Square,  and  Cadogan  House,  Chelsea,  must  therefore 
be  passed  by  with  this  bare  allusion. 

Then  in  Piccadilly,  Bath  House,  and  No.  i  Stratton  Street,  so  long 
associated  with  the  Baroness  Burdett-Coutts ;  Hope  House,  and  Hertford 
House,  now  clubs  and  both  bearing  the  name  of  former  illustrious  owners, 
as  well  as  Lord  Rothschild's  fine  mansion  next  to  Apsley  House,  could  hardly 
be  included,  splendid  as  they  are,  because  had  they  been,  then  Curzon 
House,"  and  Alington  House  ;  No.  9,  Chesterfield  Gardens,  Lord  Lecon- 
field's  London  mansion  ;  and  Bute  House,  to  mention  but  these,  could 
not  have  been  left  out  ;  and  had  these  been  dealt  with,  there  would 
then  have  been  innumerable  important  mansions  in  the  great  squares 
with  equal  claims  to  be  considered,  and  there  would  have  been  no  end 
to  the  book  or  its  draft  on  the  patience  of  its  readers. 

Selection  in  such  cases  is  always  rather  a  difficult  matter  ;  if,  as  I 
hope,  I  have  avoided  its  being  an  invidious  one,  I  may  reckon  myself 
lucky.  To  evolve  a  logical  definition  of  what  may  be  rightly  included 
in  a  book  dealing  with  Private  Palaces  is,  I  fear,  almost  impossible  ;  the 
relative  size  of  a  house,  though  in  itself  alone  obviously  no  certain  criterion, 
must  at  least  be  considered  ;  historic,  personal  or  intrinsic  interest  should 
also  be  present,  while  due  weight  must  be  given  to  architectural  features, 
and  the  beauty  of  internal  decorations  and  value,  monetary  as  well  as 
sentimental,  of  the  contents  ;  and  although  it  is  of  course  a  fact  that 
there  are  thousands  of  fine  mansions  in  London  fulfilling  some  one  or 

'  Those  who  are  interested  in  the  matter  will  find  details  of  the  old  Chelsea  houses  in 
L'Estrange's  Village  of  Palaces. 

^  I  have  been  sorely  tempted  to  make  an  exception  in  favour  of  this  beautiful  mansion,  not 
only  because  of  the  charm  of  its  interior  with  its  splendid  hall  and  mahogany  staircase,  where 
hang  two  pieces  of  superb  tapestry  for  which  great  sums  have  been  offered  ;  its  fine  rooms  with 
their  lovely  marble  mantelpieces  and  their  thousand  and  one  objects  of  interest  and  value  ; 
pictures  and  decorative  furniture,  and  bric-a-brac;  but  also  because  Lord  Howe  has  kindly 
extended  every  facility  to  me  for  examining  the  house  and  its  contents  ;  but  unfortunately  the 
scheme  of  this  work  makes  it  impossible  for  me  to  do  more  than  merely  allude  to  it  in  this 
slight  way. 


xiv  INTRODUCTION 

more  of  these  conditions,  the  great  houses  I  deal  with  are,  I  venture  to 
think,  those  alone  that  combine  them  all. 

So  far  as  their  beautiful  contents  are  concerned  all  of  them  are  notable  ; 
some,  such  as  Bridgewater,  Stafford  and  Dorchester  Houses,  particularly 
so,  on  account  of  the  wonders  of  artistic  achievement  which  hang  on 
their  walls  or  are  scattered  about  within  their  vast  rooms  ;  some  are 
pre-eminently  noticeable  on  account  of  their  architectural  features  such 
as  Chesterfield  House,  Lansdowne  House,  and  Spencer  House,  and  to 
mention  more  modern  instances,  Dorchester  House,  and  Montagu  House ; 
others,  if  less  ambitious,  have  still  some  claims  in  this  respect,  and  are  be- 
sides hallowed  by  personal  memories ;  and  of  these  are  Apsley  House 
and  Devonshire  House,  Norfolk  House  and  Portman  House. 

But  these  I  have  named  are  merely  special  examples  of  characteristics 
which  are  more  or  less  present  in  them  all,  and  it  is  because  they  are  en- 
dowed with  such  attributes  that  it  has  seemed  to  me  that  such  a  title  as 
that  of  Private  Palaces  is  not  inappropriate  to  any  of  them. 

In  dealing  with  these  splendid  mansions  of  the  past  and  the  present, 
a  reflection  inevitably  forces  itself  upon  the  mind  ;  a  reflection,  I  am 
bound  to  admit,  which  is  not  altogether  a  pleasant  one.  We  have  seen 
how  many  of  those  great  houses  which  our  forefathers  erected  with  such 
loving  care  and  at  such  vast  expense,  and  each  of  which  no  doubt  they 
considered  aere  -perennius,  have  passed  away,  and  how  heavily  "  Time's 
destroying  hand  "  has  dealt  with  them.  What  then  are  we  to  suppose 
will  be  the  fate  of  some  of  those  which  to-day  would  seem  to  be  armed  so 
as  to  defy  Time  ?  Some  we  know  are  held  on  leasehold  tenure,  and 
when  their  term  has  run,  may  be  ruthlessly  demolished ;  others  stand 
proudly  in  the  midst  of  ever-changing  conditions  of  building  develop- 
ment ;  will  they  be,  in  their  turn,  attacked,  and  if  so — what  then  ? 
And  lastly,  if  a  century  and  a  half  ago  the  westward  movement  began 
to  carry  fashion  into  what  then  seemed  the  outskirts  and  wilds  of  the 
Town  ;  may  not  a  lesser  space  of  time  be  sufficient  to  accentuate  this 
movement  so  much  that  what  to  us  are  now  the  unfashionable  portions 
of  greater  London  may  become  the  centre  of  the  fashionable  life  of  the 
future,  as  select  as  Mayfair  and  more  sought  after  than  Belgravia  ? 

This  is,  of  course,  but  daring  conjecture  ;  but  what  has  been,  may 
well  be  again  ;  and  if  such  a  day  does  ever  come,  and  books  continue  to 
be  read,  as  it  is  not  improbable  they  still  even  then  may  be,  the 
equivalent  to  Macaulay's  New  Zealander  will  perhaps  be  glad  to  learn 
something  of  the  grandeur  of  these  great  houses,  and  will  wonder  at  the 
wealth  and  artistic  beauty  that  was  accumulated  within  them. 


CONTENTS 


PREFACE 
INTRODUCTION 


PAGE 

vii 


IX 


CHAP. 

I.  Past  Citv  Palaces 

Devonshire  House,  Northampton  House,  Bridgewater  House,  Aylesbury 
House,  Albemarle  House,  Petre  House,  Thanet  House,  Westmoreland 
House,  Northumberland  House,  Shellty  House,  Lauderdale  House, 
Sharrington  House,  Crosby  Place,  Abergavenny  House,  Warwick 
House,  Brooke  House,  Southampton  House,  Hatton  House,  Winchester 
House,  Salisbury  House. 

II.  Great  Houses  of  the  Strand      ....... 

Essex  House,  Arundel  House,  Worcester  House,  Cecil  House,  York  House, 
Exeter  House,  Bedford  House,  Northumberland  House. 

III.  Burlington  House  and  Others    ....... 

Burlington  House,  Clarendon  House,  Buckingham  House,  Montagu  House 
(Bloomsbury),  Southampton  or  Bedford  House. 

IV.  Leicester  House,  &c.    ......... 


Leicester  House,  Drury  or  Craven  House,  Harcourt  House,  Monmouth 
House,  Ashburnham  House,  Marlborough  House,  Schomberg  House, 
Uxbridge  House,  Cambridge  House,  Melbourne  House  (The  Albany), 
Hertford  House,  Newcastle  House. 

V.  Whitehall  Houses        ......... 

Richmond  House,  Pembroke  House,  Gwydyr  House,  Carrington  House, 
Portland  House,  Fife  House,  Dover  House,  Stanhope  House,  Rochester 
House,  Wallingford  House,  Ashburnham  House  (Westminster). 

VI.  Apsley  House 
VII.  Bridgewater  House 
VIII.  Chesterfield  House 
IX.  Crewe  House 

X.  Devonshire  House 
XI.  Dorchester  House 


27 
S8 

95 

136 

170 
189 
207 
221 
231 
249 


xvi  CONTENTS 

CHAP.  PAGE 

XII.  Grosvenor  House 260 

XIII.  Lansdowne  House 275 

XIV.  Londonderry  House      . 291 

XV.  Montagu  House 299 

XVI.  Norfolk  House 313 

XVII.  PoRTMAN  House 324 

XVIII.  Spencer  House 337 

XIX.  Stafford  House 347 

XX.  WiMBORNE  House 365 

INDEX 373 

<^  if  a 


>' 


LIST    OF    ILLUSTRATIONS 


Chesterfield  House,  Mayfair 

From  a  photogfaph  by  Messrs.  BEriFOKD  I^i!:MKKl!;  &  Co. 


To  jnce  Title 


Shaftesbury,  FORMERLY  Thanet,  House,  Aldersgate  Street      To  face  p.  i 

From  an  original  drawing  in  the  Grace  Collection. 


Ely  House,  afterwards  Hatton  House,  Holborn 

From  an  old  print  by  R.  GODFREY. 

Arundel  House,  Strand       ....... 

From  a  rare  print  by  Hoix.XR,  dated  1646. 

Northumberland  House,  Charing  Cross     .... 

From  an  old  engraving. 

Burlington  House,  Piccadilly     ...... 

From  a  print  by  J.    KiP,  about  1700. 

Clarendon  House,  Piccadilly      ...... 

From  a  print  by  Wise, 

Montagu  House,  Bloomseury       ...... 

From  a  print  by  SUTTON  NiCHOLLS. 

Leicester  House,  Leicester  Fields       ..... 

From  a  drawing  in  tlie  Crate  Collection. 

Marlborough  House,  from  the  Mall         .... 

From  a  print  by  John  Harris. 

View  of  Whitehall  from  St.  James's  Park 

From  a  print  by  J.   Kip. 

Carrington  House,  Whitehall  ...... 

Frojn  a  photograph  taken  shortly  before  its  demolition,  by  t>\essrs.  BEDFORD 

Lemere  &  Co. 

xvii 


20 

27 
51 
58 
67 
80 

95 

109 
136 
147 


xviii  LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS 

The  Grand  Staircase,  Carrington  House     .         .         .       To  face  p.   148 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  Bedford  Lemere  &  Co. 

The  Waterloo  Chamber,  Apsley  House         ...  „         170 

From  a  photograph  by  Mr.   H.  N.    King. 

The  Piccadilly  Room,  Apslev  House      ....  „         180 

From  a  photograph  by  Mr.  H.  N.   King. 

The  Great  Hall,  Bridgewater  House.         ...  ,,189 

From  a  photograph  by  Mr.   H.  N,   King. 

Titian's  "Diana    and   Calisto,"  in   the   Bridgewater 

House  Collection      .......  »         '95 

From  a  photograph  by  Mr.  F,   HoLLYER. 

"  Men    playing    at     Tric-trac,"    by    Ostade,    in    the 

Bridgewater  House  Collection       ....  „         198 

From  a  photograph  by  Mr.  F.   HoLLYER. 

"View   of   the   Maese   near   Dort,"   by  Cuyp,  in  the 

Bridgewater  House  Collection        ....  „         202 

From  a  photograph  by  Mr.  F.   HoLLYEK. 

The  Drawing-room,  Chesterfield  House       ...  „         207 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  BEDFORD  Lemere  &  Co. 

The  Library,  Chesterfield  House  .         .         .         .  „         211 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  Bedford  Lemere  &  Co. 

The  Red  Drawing-room,  Crewe  House  .         .         .  „         221 

From  a  photograph  by  Mr.   R.  HAINE.S. 

The  Ball-room,  Devonshire  House         ....  ,,231 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  J.  RUSSELL  &  Sons. 

The  Red  Drawing-room,  Devonshire  House  .         .  „         242 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  J.  Russell  cS;  Sons. 

The  Grand  Staircase,  Dorchester  House      ...  „         249 

Fro7n  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  Bedford  Lemere  &  Co. 


LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS  xix 

The  Red  Drawing-room,  Dorchester  House         .         .       To  face  p.  254 

From  a  p)wtograph  by  Messrs.  REKl'dRD  LicMERE  &  Co. 

The  Dining-room,  Dorchester  House    ....  „         257 

From  a  flwlograpit  by  Messrs.  Bedford  Lemeke  &  Co. 

The  Drawing-room,  Grosvenor  House  ....  »         260 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  BEDFORD  Lemere  &  Co. 

The  Rubens  Room,  Grosvenor  House     ....  »         273 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  Bedford  Lemere  &  Co. 

The  Drawing-room,  Lansdowne  House  ...  „         27s 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  J.  RussELL  &  SoN.S. 

The  Sculpture  Gallery,  Lansdowne  House  ...  ,,281 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  J.   RUSSELL  &  Sons. 

The  Grand  Staircase,  Londonderry  House  ...  „         291 

From  a  photograph  by  Mr.   H.  N.  King. 

The  Drawing-room,  Londonderry  House      ...  „         295 

FroTii  a  photograph  by  Mr.   H.  N.   King. 

The  Saloon,  Montagu  House »         299 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  J.  RussELL  &  Sons. 

The  Drawing-room,  Montagu  House    ....  „         305 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  J.  Russell  &  Sons. 

The  Ball-room,  Norfolk  House    .....  »         3^3 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  Bedford  Lemere  &  Co. 

The  Blue  Drawing-room,  Norfolk  House    ...  „         323 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  BEDFORD  LEMERE  &  Co. 

Portman  House,  Portman  Square  .....      „    324 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  Bedford  Lemere  &  Co. 

The  Saloon,  Portman  House  .....  „         335 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  BEDFORD  Lemere  &.  Co. 

Spencer  House  (West  Front) >,         337 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  Bedford  Lemere  &  Co. 


XX  LIST   OF   ILLUSTRATIONS 

The  Painted  Room,  Spencer  House        ....       To  face  p.  342 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  Bedfokd  Lf.MERE  &  Co. 

The  Great  Hall,  Stafford  House         ....  „         347 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  Bedford  Lemere  &  Co. 

The  Great  Gallery,  Stafford  House    .         .         .         ,  .  „         357 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  BEDFORD  Lemere  &  Co. 

The  Ball-room,  Wimborne  House  ....  „         365 

From  a  photograph  by  Messrs.  BEDFORD  Lemere  &  Co. 


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2     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

the  site  of  Devonshire  House  ;  to  say  nothing  of  Lanesborough  House, 
where  St.  George's  Hospital  is  now  situated. 

In  Whitehall,  where  once  clustered  a  number  of  fine  private  residences, 
the  magnificent  but  modern  Montagu  House  is  the  only  great  mansion 
which  can  be  regarded  in  any  way  as  a  private  palace  ;  Rutland,  Richmond, 
Portland,  Pembroke,  Carrington,  Fife,  Dover,  Rochester,  and  Wallingford 
Houses  have  all  disappeared  ;  and  Gwydwr  House  alone  survives  as  the 
headquarters  of  one  of  the  Government  offices. 

Berkeley  House,  in  Spring  Gardens,  is  no  more  ;  nor,  if  we  turn  our 
steps  to  Bloomsbury,  shall  we  find  any  trace  of  Southampton  House,  once 
the  glory  of  Bloomsbury  Square,  or  of  Montagu  House  which  has  long 
been  swallowed  up  in  the  vast  buildings  of  the  British  Museum. 

Chandos  House  in  Cavendish  Square,  which  indeed  was  never  completed, 
is  as  forgotten  as  Nineveh ;  and  all  that  remains  of  the  vast  conceptions  of 
the  "  Princely  Chandos "  are  the  two  ends  of  the  wings  which  he  had 
allocated  to  the  use  of  his  servants,  one  of  which  was  once  occupied  by  a 
royal  princess,  and  the  other  has  now  been  metamorphosed  into  the 
seemingly  inevitable  flats ;  while  Harcourt  House,  close  by,  has  in  our  own 
day  been  demolished  in  favour  of  the  same  class  of  dwellings. 

Other  instances  might  be  given,  as  showing  that  the  exigencies  of  build- 
ing development  have  proved  more  hostile  to  the  older  houses  of  London 
than  many  revolutions  would  probably  have  been. 

Before  I  turn  to  some  of  those  private  palaces  which  are  one  of  the 
glories  of  London  to-day,  I  shall  say  something  in  this  chapter  about  the 
great  houses  of  the  City  which  have  passed  away,  and  the  associations  that 
still  cluster  round  their  memories.^ 

Let  us  begin  with  Devonshire  House,  in  the  City,  which  stood  on 
the  site  of  the  present  Devonshire  Square,  the  whole  of  the  north  side  of 
which  was  occupied  by  it  and  its  ample  gardens.  It  was  erected  by  Jasper 
Fisher,  one  of  the  six  clerks  in  Chancery  and  a  Justice  of  the  Peace,  who 
appears  to  have  built  it  probably  in  the  earlier  portion  of  Elizabeth's  reign. 
According  to  Stow,  it  was  a  large  and  beautiful  house,  with  gardens  of 
pleasure,  bowling  alleys,  and  such-like  ;  and  the  seeming  absurdity  of  a 
man  in  Fisher's  position  building  such  an  ostentatious  dwelling  appears 
to  have  struck  the  populace,  who  called  it  in  consequence,  "  Fisher's 
Folly."  Indeed  it  seems  that  Fisher  ruined  himself  by  this  building,  and 
if  he  ever  lived  in  the  place,  it  could  only  have  been  for  a  relatively  short 
time,  for  Pennant  mentions  that  a  Mr.  Cornwallis,  and  after  him.  Sir 
Roger  Manners  occupied  it,  before  it  was  taken  by  the  Earl  of  Oxford, 

'  It  need  hardly  be  said  that  there  is  record  of  many  fine  houses  in  the  City  which  cannot 
be  considered  in  the  light  of  palaces,  and  therefore  need  not  be  specified. 


DEVONSHIRE   HOUSE  3 

Lord  High  Chamberlain  to  Elizabeth,  who  once,  at  least,  entertained  the 
Queen  here,  on  the  occasion  of  one  of  her  visits  to  the  City. 

The  seventeenth  Earl  of  Oxford  succeeded  his  father  in  August  1562, 
and  according  to  Machyn's  Diary,  on  the  3rd  of  September,  he  rode  to 
London, and  thence,  by  "  Chepe  and  Ludgate,  to  Tempelle  bare,"  which  seems 
to  indicate  that  he  had  not  then,  at  any  rate,  become  possessed  of  Fisher's 
mansion.  Lord  Oxford  was  held  in  high  favour  by  Elizabeth,  to  whom 
he  is  traditionally  supposed  to  have  presented  the  first  pair  of  perfumed 
gloves  imported  into  this  country.  A  passage  in  the  Harleian  MSS. 
refers  to  him  as  "  a  man  in  minde  and  body,  absolutely  accomplished 
with  honourable  endowments." 

Although  Pennant  seems  to  indicate  that  Manners  preceded  Lord 
Oxford  in  the  occupation  of  the  house.  Stow  gives  him  as  residing  here 
after  that  peer.     The  matter  is  not,  however,  of  great  importance. 

In  the  reign  of  James  L  the  Earl  of  Argyle  was  living  here,  probably 
having  purchased  the  property  after  the  death  of  Lord  Oxford  which 
occurred  in  1604.  It  is  uncertain  how  long  he  retained  it;  but  that  he 
was  anxious  to  dispose  of  it  in  1615,  is  proved  by  an  entry  in  the  East 
India  Company's  Calendar  for  January  loth,  of  that  year,  where  it  is 
mentioned  as  being  offered  to  the  Company,  but  was  found  "  unfit  for 
their  service."  Later  the  Marquis  of  Hamilton  resided  here,  and  when 
he  died,  in  March  1625,  "his  body  was  carried  with  much  company 
and  torchlights  to  Fisher's  Folly,  his  house  without  Bishopsgate." 

Soon  after  the  death  of  Lord  Hamilton,  the  second  Earl  of  Devonshire 
bought  the  mansion,  and  died  here,  on  June  20,  1628.'  The  house 
seems  to  have  remained  in  the  Cavendish  family  till  towards  the  end  of 
the  seventeenth  century,  and  in  November  1660,  we  read  of  King  Charles, 
the  Oueen,  the  Duke  of  York,  and  other  members  of  the  royal  family 
being  entertained  here  by  the  old  Countess  of  Devonshire,  who  died,  at 
a  great  age,  in  1689,  and  whom  Strype,  writing  in  1720,  mentions  as 
dwelling  here  within  his  memory,  "  in  great  repute  for  her  hospitality."  " 

During  the  Civil  Wars  and  the  Protectorate  it  is  probable  that  the 
family  withdrew  from  the  place,  for  the  house,  or  more  probably  the 
chapel  attached  to  it,  was  converted  into  a  Baptist  and  Presbyterian 
meeting-house,  in  which  connection  it  is  mentioned  by  Butler  in  his 
Hudibras.  Its  use  as  a  centre  of  sectarianism  was  apparently  continued 
for  some  years  after  the  Restoration,  for  not  till   1670  was  it  suppressed 

'  The  Cavendish  family  had  been  associated  with  this  part  of  the  town  from  the  time  of 
Henry  VIII.  The  wife  of  Thomas  Cavendish,  Treasurer  of  the  Exchequer  to  the  King,  being 
buried  in  St.  Botolph's  Church. 

-  .A.  broadside  ballad,  called  "  The  Entertainment  of  Lady  Monk  at  Fisher's  Folly,"  dated 
1660,  is  extant. 


4     THE    PRIVATE  PALACES    OF  LONDON 

under  the  "  Act  for  the  Suppression  of  Conventicles,"  when  it  was  con- 
verted into  one  of  the  places  "  appointed  to  be  used  every  Lord's  day  for 
the  celebration  of  divine  worship  by  approved  orthodox  ministers."  Later, 
at  the  close  of  the  seventeenth  century,  when  the  Penny  Post  was  started, 
Mr.  Murray  contrived  and  set  up  his  "  Bank  of  Credit,"  at  Devonshire 
House,  where  men  "  depositing  their  goods  and  merchandize  were  furnished 
with  Bills  of  current  credit,  at  two-thirds  or  three-fourths  of  the  value  of 
said  goods " ;  which  was  apparently  a  sort  of  glorified  pawnbroker's 
business !  As  in  the  case  of  so  many  old  buildings  in  London 
which  idisappeared  before  the  industrious  J.  T.  Smith  and  others  who 
followed  in  his  steps,  carefully  noted  such  matters,  the  date  of  the 
demolition  of  Devonshire  House  is  merely  conjectural.  It  was  probably 
allowed  to  gradually  fall  into  ruin  and  decay,  and  when  finally  pulled 
down  attracted  only  the  notice  of  those  specifically  interested  in  the 
ground  on  which  it  stood. 

If  little  Is  known  about  the  fate  of  Devonshire  House,  still  less  is 
recorded  concerning  that  of  Northampton  House,  once  the  town  resi- 
dence of  the  Earls  of  Northampton,  which  stood  with  its  gardens  on  the 
site  of  what  is  now  Northampton  Square,  in  Clerkenwell,  where  the  present 
Lord  Northampton,  who  Is  lord  of  the  manor,  possesses  much  valuable 
property ;  or  of  that  of  Bridgewater  House,  whose  name  Is  alone 
perpetuated  in  Bridgewater  Square.  Lord  Bridgewater's  mansion  faced 
the  Barbican,  and  the  grounds,  extending  northward,  are  marked  by 
Bridgewater  Gardens  (now  known  as  Fann  Street) ;  the  house  itself 
standing,  according  to  Stow,  where  the  Square,  which  has  been  much  cut 
up,  once  existed.  The  mansion  was  entered  by  a  narrow  way  from  the 
Barbican,  where  It  was  situated  rather  east  of  Aldersgate  Street.  Its 
buildings,  in  front  of  which  was  a  courtyard,  extended  about  200  feet 
east  and  west,  and  Its  gardens  behind  had  an  area  of  about  250  by  150 
feet,  as  may  be  seen  In  Ogilby's  plan  dated  1677. 

The  house  was  destroyed  by  fire  in  April  1687,1  and  the  two  elder 
sons  of  the  third  Earl  who  had  only  succeeded  to  the  title  in  the  previous 
year,  perished  In  the  flames,  together  with  their  tutor  who  had  endeavoured 
to  save  their  lives.  Evelyn  records  that  the  orchards  attached  to  the 
gardens  were  celebrated  for  their  productiveness,  and  during  the  Civil  Wars 
this  was  so  much  the  case  that  the  diarist  accounts  for  it  by  the  fact  that 
the  scarcity  of  coal  in  the  metropolis  caused  a  corresponding  decrease  In 
the  volume  of  smoke ;  a  deduction  which  will  rejoice  the  heart  of  Sir 
William  Richmond  !  Evelyn  adds,  "  The  city  of  London  resembles  rather 
the  face  of  Etna,  the  court  of  Vulcan  Stromboll,  or  the  suburbs  of  hell, 
^  Pennant  erroneously  gives  the  date  as  1675. 


ALBEMARLE   HOUSE  5 

than  an  assembly  of  rational  creatures."  ^     What  would  he  have  said  of  it 
to-day  ? 

Aylesbury  House,  Clerkenwell,  is  another  of  the  great  private  palaces 
that  have  gone,  nor  "  left  a  wrack  behind."  At  one  time  the  mansion  and 
its  grounds,  which  extended  from  Clerkenwell  Green,  on  the  west  side  of 
St.  John's  Street,  southward  for  some  500  feet,  belonged  to  the  Knights  of 
St.  John  of  Jerusalem ;  but  was  later  granted  to  the  Bruces,  Earls  of 
Aylesbury,  the  first  of  whom,  who  was  created  a  peer  in  1665,  and  held 
many  high  offices,  such  as  that  of  Deputy  Earl  Marshal,  and  Gentleman 
of  the  Bedchamber,  and  was  one  of  the  twelve  commoners  deputed  to 
invite  Charles  II.  to  return  to  this  country,  dates  many  of  his  letters  from 
here,  in  1671. 

Close  to  Clerkenwell  Green,  was  still  standing  in  Pennant's  time, 
Albemarle  or  Newcastle  House,  the  residence  of  the  so-called  "  mad 
duchess,"  widow  of  the  second  Duke  of  Albemarle  who,  in  the  Ellis 
correspondence,  is  described  as  being  "burnt  to  a  coal  with  hot  liquor," 
and  last  surviving  daughter  and  co-heiress  of  Henry  Cavendish,  second 
Duke  of  Newcastle,  who  died  in  it  in  1734,  at  the  age  of  ninety-six,  and 
of  whom  I  shall  have  something  more  to  say  when  speaking  of  Montagu 
House,  Bloomsbury. 

Here,  had  previously  lived,  in  great  magnificence,  that  Duke  of  New- 
castle, who  is  remembered  not  only  as  a  patron  of  the  men  of  genius  of 
his  day,  but  more  particularly  by  his  elaborate  work  on  horsemanship  ; 
and  with  him  his  second  duchess,  the  Margaret  of  Newcastle  who  among 
other  books  wrote  the  well-known  life  of  her  husband,  and  is  enshrined 
for  all  time  in  the  eulogistic  reference  of  Charles  Lamb.  Evelyn  visited 
the  Duke  and  Duchess  here,  and  in  his  Diary  for  April  18,  1667,  one  of 
these  occasions  is  recorded  thus  :  "  I  went  to  make  court  to  the  Duke 
and  Duchess  of  Newcastle  at  their  house  in  Clerkenwell,  being  newly 
come  out  of  the  north.  They  received  me  with  great  kindnesse,  and 
I  was  much  pleased  with  the  extraordinary  fanciful  habit,  garb,  and 
discourse  of  the  Duchess." 

After  the  death  of  the  "  mad  duchess,"  Newcastle  House  was  cut  up 
into  small  tenements,  and  its  memory  is  alone  preserved  in  Newcastle 
Place  and  Newcastle  Row  which  are  situated  near  where  it  once  stood. 
There  is  a  view  of  Newcastle  House  in  Pink's  History  of  Clerkenwell,^ 
and  the  author  there  states  that  George  Monk,  the  first  Duke  of  Albe- 
marle, was  living  here  in  1686,  as  is  also  evidenced  by  a  letter  addressed 

'  Evelyn's  Fumiftigium. 

''■  The  view  of  the  house  referred  to  is  taken  from  a  curious  drawing  by  Hollar,  dated  1661. 


6     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

to  him  here,  by  the  Earl  of  Sunderland,  in  that  year ;  while  Sir 
John  Bramston,  in  his  Autobiography ^  mentions  that  he  was  with  the 
Duke  at  Newcastle  House  when  this  very  communication  arrived  on 
July  30th. 

In  Aldersgate  Street  quite  a  number  of  noble  residences  once  existed  ; 
but  you  shall  seek  long  enough  nowadays  for  the  least  trace  of  any  of 
them.  There  was,  for  example,  Petre  House,  once  the  town  residence 
of  the  heads  of  the  ancient  Petre  family,  who  lived  here  from  the  middle 
of  the  sixteenth  century  till  the  year  1639;  after  which,  in  1657,  it 
belonged  to  Henry  Pierrepoint,  Marquis  of  Dorchester,  who  died  in  1680. 
Later  still,  in  consequence  of  the  destruction  of  the  old  palace  near  St. 
Paul's,  it  was  acquired  by  the  See  of  London,  and  at  least  one  bishop, 
Henchman,  died  here,  in  1675  ;  upon  which  event  it  seems  to  have  been 
rented  by  Rawlinson,  the  non-juring  Bishop  of  London.^ 

Close  to  Petre  House,  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  street,  once  stood 
Thanet  House,  which  occupied  the  east  side  of  Aldersgate  Street,  about 
600  feet  south  of  the  Barbican  ;  it  was  built  round  a  courtyard,  and  had  a 
large  square  garden  behind  to  the  east,  and  took  its  name  from  the 
Tuftons,  Earls  of  Thanet,  having  been  their  town  house  ;  while  it  was 
known  at  a  later  date  as  Shaftesbury  House  when  it  became  the  residence 
of  the  Earl  of  Shaftesbury.  Lady  Pembroke  in  her  True  Memorials  mentions 
the  house  in  the  following  connection  :  "  The  7  day  of  May,  1664,  being 
Saturdie,  about  3  o'clock  dyed  my  sonne-in-law,  John  Tufton,  Earle  of 
Thanet,  in  his  house  called  Thanet  House,  in  Aldersgate  Street  at  London, 
in  those  lodgings  that  look  towards  the  street  which  he  had  about  20  years 
since  built  with  freestone  very  magnificent." '  Pennant  describes  it  as  a 
very  fine  old  house,  built  about  the  time  of  Charles  L,  as  well  it  might  be 
when  we  know  that  Inigo  Jones  designed  it,  and  states  that  it  was  either 
rented  or  purchased  by  Lord  Shaftesbury,  in  the  days  of  Charles  II.,  who 
desired  to  have  a  city  residence  so  that  he  could  the  more  readily  inculcate 
his  incendiary  principles  among  the  citizens,  of  whom,  it  was  his  boast, 
that  he  could  raise  ten  thousand  by  holding  up  his  finger.  Fearing, 
however,  the  detection  of  one  of  the  many  plots  in  which  he  was  engaged, 
he  fled  the  country  in  1683,  and  died  in  Holland,  whither  he  had  taken 
refuge,  although  when  in  power  he  had  never  ceased  advocating  war 
against  that  country.  Pennant,  a  propos  of  this,  gives  a  curious  anecdote. 
It  appears  that  Shaftesbury  always  ended  up  his  violent  tirades  against 
the  Dutch  with  the  words,  "  Delenda  est  Carthago."  Before  flying  to 
Holland,  he  thought  it  wise  to  obtain  specific  permission  to  live  there, 

•  There  is  a  ground  plan  of  this  house  in  Wilkinson's  Londina  Illusirata. 
^  There  is  an  illustration  extant,  of  which  a  reproduction  is  given  here. 


THANET   HOUSE  7 

and  to  that  end  applied  to  the  Republic,  the  magistrates  of  which  replied 
in  the  following  terms :  "  Carthago,  non  adhuc  abolita,  Comitem  de 
Shaftesbury  in  gremio  suo  recipere  vult  !  " 

Thanet,  or  Shaftesbury  House  has  another  interest,  for  here,  on  his 
return  from  the  Continent,  in  1679,  John  Locke  resided  under  Lord 
Shaftesbury's  protection ;  indeed  he  seems  to  have  made  it  his  head- 
quarters until  his  lordship  went  to  Holland  ;  while  another  interesting 
figure  is  also  connected  with  the  house,  for  at  least,  on  one  occasion,  the 
Duke  of  Monmouth  withdrew  hither  for  concealment  during  the  time 
when  he  was  plotting  against  the  Crown. 

Some  years  later — to  be  precise,  in  1708 — the  mansion  was  again  in  the 
possession  of  the  Thanet  family,  from  which  it  may  be  surmised  that  it 
had  only  been  let  to  Lord  Shaftesbury ;  but  it  soon  passed  to  other  uses, 
and  in  1720  we  find  it  converted  into  an  inn — surely,  considering  its  pro- 
portions, more  like  a  precursor  of  one  of  the  elaborate  hotels  of  our  own 
day,  than  the  humble  and  generally  exiguous  hostelries  of  the  eighteenth 
century  !  Fourteen  years  later  it  had  become  merely  a  tavern,  while  from 
1750  to  1771,  it  was  occupied  by  the  London  Lying-in  Hospital,  and  two 
views  of  it  as  such  are  given  in  Maitland's  History  of  London,  published 
in  1756.  Further  vicissitudes  awaited  it,  till,  in  1882,  it  was  finally 
demolished,  and  Shaftesbury  Hall  and  various  shops  were  built  on 
its  site. 

Two  other  great  mansions  which  also  stood  in  Aldersgate  Street  were 
Westmoreland  House  and  Northumberland  House  ;  the  former, 
which  Pennant  terms  "  a  magnificent  pile,"  was  the  town  house  of  the 
Earls  of  Westmoreland,  and  its  name,  after  it  had  itself  gone  the  way  of 
most  of  the  stately  residences  of  older  London,  survived  in  Westmoreland 
Court ;  the  latter  stood  at  the  corner  of  Bull  and  Mouth  Street,  and  was  the 
infrequent  London  resort  of  Hotspur.^  Henry  IV.,  in  the  seventh  year 
of  his  reign  gave  it  to  his  queen  and  it  was,  for  a  time,  known  as  the 
Queen's  Wardrobe  ; "  its  later  history  includes  its  conversion  successively 
into  a  printing-house  and  a  tavern — to  such  base  uses  come  the  noblest 
piles  ! 

Another  house  in  this  quarter,  dating  from  about  the  same  remote 
period,  was  Shelley  House,  erected  by  Sir  Thomas  Shelley  in  the  first  year 
of  Henry  IV. 's  reign,  but  rebuilt  by  Sir  Nicholas  Bacon  in  the  time  of 

^  Another  Northumberland  House  stood  near  Seething  Lane,  and  was  occupied  by 
Hotspur's  father,  that  Earl  of  Northumberland  who  once  sent  a  challenge  to  Henry  IV.  In  the 
reign  of  Henry  VI.  the  two  Earls,  father  and  son,  who  were  killed  respectively  at  St.  Albans 
and  Towton,  occupied  it,  and  later  it  became  a  gaming-house,  one  of  the  first  in  London, 
according  to  Stow,  who  calls  it  "their  ancient  and  only  patron  of  misrule." 

-  Stow. 


8     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Elizabeth,  when  it  was  known  as  Bacon  House.  According  to  Mr. 
Wheatley,  it  seems  to  have  been  inhabited  jointly  by  the  Bacon  family  and 
by  Recorder  Fleetwood,  the  friend  and  correspondent  of  Lord  Burghley, 
and  in  one  of  his  letters,  dated  July  21,  1578,  he  mentions  that  "my 
Lord  Keeper  (Bacon),  my  Ladie,  and  all  the  house  are  come  to  London 
this  night."  But  Stow  seems  to  indicate  that  Fleetwood  possessed 
another  and  quite  separate  residence.^ 

Lauderdale  House  was  also  one  of  the  great  city  mansions  of  which 
all  traces  have  disappeared.  It  stood  on  the  east  side  of  the  north  end  of 
Aldersgate  Street,  between  Crown  and  Hare  Courts,  or  Nos.  51  and  6^ 
of  the  present  street,  and,  as  its  name  implies,  was  the  town  residence  of 
the  Duke  of  Lauderdale,  the  "L"  of  the  famous  "Cabal"  Ministry. 
According  to  the  views  of  it  by  Tompkins,  preserved  in  the  Crowle 
Pennant,  it  appears  to  have  stood  back  from  the  street  and  to  have  been 
built  of  red  brick ;  and  one  of  the  illustrations  represents  a  room  on  the 
second  floor,  in  which  can  be  seen  the  Lauderdale  arms  carved  on  the 
chimneypiece. 

In  Mark  Lane,  close  by,  was  another  "  magnificent  house,"  according 
to  Strype,  that  of  Sir  William  Sharrington,  chief  oflicer  of  the  Mint  -  under 
Edward  VI.,  and  a  tool  of  the  ambitious  Thomas  Seymour,  with  whom 
he  fell  and  was  attainted.  Sharrington  House  was  then  given  to 
Henry  Fitz-Alan,  Earl  of  Arundel,  "being  thought  a  fit  habitation  for 
that  great  peer  on  account  of  its  size  and  splendour"  ;  ^  but  its  later  history 
is  hidden  in  obscurity,  as  is  the  record  of  that  once  famous  Worcester  Place, 
near  Vintner's  Hall,  in  Upper  Thames  Street,  where  lived  the  enlightened 
though  cruel  John  Tiptoff,  Earl  of  Worcester,  Lord  High  Treasurer  of 
England,  which  Stow  mentions  as  being,  in  his  time,  divided  into  many 
tenements. 

Practically  all  vestiges  of  the  houses  of  old  London  have  passed  away ; 
nothing  but  their  names  survive  in  the  pages  of  the  earlier  chronicles  of 
the  great  city  to  indicate  their  former  existence  and  "  to  point  where  the 
fabric  stood  "  ;  those  I  have  mentioned  are  eloquent  of  this ;  some  I  shall 
presently  notice  in  this  chapter,  no  less  bear  out  the  remark,  for  if  the 
name  of  a  street  or  a  square  perpetuates  their  one-time  existence,  it  is  as 
much  as  we  can  obtain  in  elucidation  of  their  former  approximate  positions  ; 
but  before  passing  to  these,  there  is  one  notable  exception  in  Crosby  Place, 
the  Great  Hall  of  which  has  only  just  been  swept  out  of  being. 

^  Stow,  p.  291. 

2  Walpole  conjectures  that  the  lightness  observable  in  the  coins  of  Edward  VI.  was  due  to 
Sharrington's  embezzlements.  A  portrait  of  Sir  William,  by  Holbein,  is  noted  by  Walpole  as 
being  at  Kensington  Palace. 

^  Pennant. 


CROSBY   PLACE  9 

As  to  the  merits  of  the  controversy  that  has  been  recently  raging  over 
this  splendid  relic  I  need  not  enter  at  any  great  length  here  ;  nor,  unfor- 
tunately, has  it  any  longer  power  to  materially  interest  us.  The  harm  is 
done ;  the  once  splendid  and  interesting  landmark  has  disappeared,  and 
commercialism,  as  usual,  has  emerged  triumphant  ;  but  in  a  book  dealing 
partly  v/ith  the  old  houses  of  London,  it  may  be  expected  that  I  should 
say  a  few  words  about  a  matter  that  six  people  consider  the  natural  out- 
come of  modern  requirements,  and  half-a-dozen  regard  as  nothing  short 
of  iconoclastic  vandalism. 

There  is  no  doubt  that  when  our  own  individual  pockets  are  not  in 
danger  of  being  touched,  we  can  all  wax  virtuously  indignant  against  those 
who  are  not  ready  to  sacrifice  immense  sums  (for  any  preservation  in 
London  nowadays  almost  inevitably  means  this)  on  the  altar  of  what  one 
may  term  antiquarian  patriotism  ;  but  what  does  to  me  seem,  I  confess,  an 
astounding  anomaly,  is  that  a  City  which  is  proverbially  the  richest  in  the 
world  should  not  itself  be  in  a  position  to  rescue  some  of  these  disappear- 
ing landmarks  without  which  it  will  soon  come  to  lose  all  interest  other 
than  as  a  hive  where  so  many  bees  are  perpetually  turning  out  so  much 
honey. 

We  all  know  what  happens  when  some  old  building,  historically 
valuable  and  interesting,  is  threatened  with  demolition  ;  people  who  live 
laborious  days  in  efforts  of  preservation  and  restoration  hold  meetings ; 
others  who  sympathise  in  such  aims  and  are  not  perhaps  averse,  in  such 
good  causes,  from  seeing  their  names  at  the  foot  of  long  letters  in  the  daily 
press,  write  to  the  papers  ;  sometimes  the  Mansion  House  oracle  is  invoked, 
and  all  goes  merrily,  what  time  the  value  of  the  property  is  being,  perhaps 
unconsciously,  enhanced,  and  the  owners  very  properly  are  sitting  quietly 
and  saying  nothing,  but  are  probably  filled  with  not  unpleasant  thoughts. 
At  length  something  tangible  is  put  forward,  generally,  by-the-bye,  so  late 
in  the  day,  that  some  one  else  is  already  in  the  field  with  a  bundle  of 
bank-notes  in  one  hand  and  in  the  other  the  ground-plan  and  elevation 
of  a  block  of  flats.  And  then  it  is  that  the  price  named  is  found  to  be 
naturally  enough  a  large  one,  such  a  large  one,  indeed,  as  can  only  be 
possible  to  purchasers  who  are  able  to  turn  their  speculation  into  a 
reasonable  profit — and  then .'' — why  then  all  and  sundry  are  asked  to 
contribute,  and  the  names  of  prominent  millionaires  are  bandied  about, 
and  the  readers  of  newspapers  feel  it  a  positive  grievance  that  one  of 
these  plutocrats  does  not  come  forward  and  present  the  relic  to  an 
admiring,  and,  the  next  day,  a  forgetful  country. 

And  those  who  by  prescriptive  right  should,  if  any  one  should,  take 
the  burden  on  their  own  shoulders,  have  so  often  in  the  past  been  helped 


lo     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

by  the  altruism  of  rich  men  (in  the  purchase  of  pictures  for  the  nation 
there  is  no  end  to  this  generosity),  that  they  apparently  feel  safe  in  risking 
the  loss  of  a  landmark,  hoping  that  at  the  last  minute  such  generosity  will 
be  repeated. 

The  loss  of  Crosby  Hall  seems  to  me  a  national  loss,  not  only  in  so 
much  weight  of  antiquated  bricks  and  mortar,  so  much  petrified  tradition, 
as  it  were  ;  but  in  the  fact  that  this  great  city,  rich  as  not  Rome  in  its 
glory  was  rich,  is  yet  not  so  rich  but  that  a  relatively  insignificant  space  in 
its  vast  area  can  be  wrested  from  it,  and  that  its  inability  to  save  one  of  its 
most  cherished  buildings,  is  made  patent  to  the  world. 

Shakespeare  who,  at  one  time,  lived  close  by,  has  done  more,  perhaps, 
than  all  the  topographers  ^  who  have  written  on  it,  to  make  Crosby  Place 
famous,  and  it  is  probable  that  had  he  not  laid  some  of  the  scenes  of  his 
Richard  III.  here,  the  connection  of  that  sinister  figure,  although  histori- 
cally indisputable,  with  the  place,  would  have  come  down  to  us  in  the 
hazy  manner  which  makes  such  associations  dear  to  antiquaries  and  almost 
unknown  of  the  general  public. 

From  certain  excavations  made  in  1871  and  1873,  the  discovery  of 
some  tessellated  pavements  lead  to  the  supposition  that  a  Roman  villa 
stood  on  the  site  of  Crosby  Place  which  was  erected  in  1466,  on  ground 
leased  from  Alice  Ashfield,  Prioress  of  St.  Helens,  for  a  term  of  ninety- 
nine  years,  at  the  annual  rent  of  ^11,  6s.  8d.,  by  Sir  John  Crosby. 
Sir  John  is  known  to  have  been  an  alderman,  and  one  of  the  Sheriffs  of 
London  in  147 1,  in  which  year  he  was  knighted  by  Edward  IV.,  but  he 
died  four  years  later,  which  caused  Stow  to  write:  "So  short  a  time 
enjoyed  he  that  large  and  sumptuous  building."  He  was  buried  in  the 
church  of  St.  Helens,  to  which  he  had  been  a  liberal  benefactor,^  where  a 
monument  to  him  and  his  wife  (who  died  in  1466)  was  erected  on  the 
south  side  of  the  chancel.  The  house,  built  by  Sir  John,  was  of  stone 
and  timber,  and,  according  to  Stow,  was  not  only  very  large  and  beautiful, 
but  was  also  "  the  highest  at  that  time  in  London." 

It  is  a  little  obscure  under  what  conditions  the  Duke  of  Gloucester 
obtained  the  place,  but  that  he  was  here  in  1483,  we  have  good  authority 
for  knowing,  and  while  here  he  determined  on  the  murder  of  his  brother 
the  Duke  of  Clarence.  Shakespeare  makes  a  room  in  the  Palace,  the  scene 
of  his  interview  with  the  murderers,  to  whom  he  says:   "When  you  have 

'  In  the  Gc7itlemaii's  Magazine,  London  Topography,  vol.  i.,  there  is  an  article  on  Crosby 
Place;  the  Rev.  T.  Hugo's  paper  on  11(1856)  is  printed  in  the  Transactions  of  the  London 
Archceological  Society,  and  it  is  dealt  with  in  every  history  of  London  ;  while  a  small  book 
(by  Mr.  C.  W.  F.  Goss)  on  it  has  recently  appeared. 

"  The  Churches  of  London,  by  Godwin  and  Britton,  1S39. 


CROSBY    PLACE  ii 

done,  repair  to  Crosby  Place  ;  "  and  it  will  be  remembered  that  after  he  has 
so  strangely  wooed  and  won  the  Lady  Anne,  Gloucester  asks  her  "  to 
presently  repair  to  Crosby  Place  "  ;  while  after  his  interview  with  Catesby 
whom  he  directs  to  sound  Lord  Hastings  in  reference  to  his  own  designs 
on  the  the  throne,  he  says,  "  At  Crosby  Hall  there  shall  you  find  us 
both,"  meaning  himself  and  his  Fidus  Achates,  Buckingham.  Here,  too, 
in  the  Great  Hall  Richard  was  acclaimed  as  king  at  that  carefully  packed 
meeting,  the  spirited  representation  of  which  may  be  seen  in  Mr.  Sigisimund 
Goetze's  mural  painting  in  the  Royal  Exchange. 

The  next  owner  of  the  mansion  was  Sir  Bartholomew  Read,  who 
occupied  it  during  his  year  of  office  as  Lord  Mayor,  in  1501  ;  and  he 
was  succeeded  in  its  tenancy  by  Sir  John  Best,  who  subsequently  sold  it  to 
Sir  Thomas  More,  probably  about  15 14  or  the  following  year. 

By  a  curious  coincidence,  or  perhaps  the  fact  was  due  to  his  residence 
in  a  place  identified  with  the  usurper,  Sir  Thomas  More,  wrote  here  his 
Life  of  Richard  III.,  and  if  the  date  of  his  first  occupation  of  the  place 
is  correctly  assumed  as  being  1514  or  1515,  then  it  is  probable  that  he 
also  wrote  his  Utopia  within  its  walls,  that  famous  book  being  first 
published  in  15 16.  Two  years  later  More  was  made  Master  of  Bequests 
and  Privy  Counsellor  by  Henry  VIII.,  and  there  seems  no  reasonable  doubt 
but  that  the  King,  with  whom  at  this  period  he  was  in  high  favour,  must  have 
visited  him  here.  Five  years  later  (1523)  More,  who  was  then  Speaker 
of  the  House  of  Commons,  sold  Crosby  Place  to  his  friend  Bonsevi,  or  as 
Stow  calls  him  Bonvice,  who  some  years  later  leased  it  to  More's  son-in- 
law,  William  Roper,  and  also  to  his  nephew  William  Rastell,  but  whether 
these  two  occupied  it  jointly  or  successively,  is  not  clear  ;  however  in  the 
following  reign  they,  together  with  their  landlord,  were  driven  abroad  on 
account  of  religious  persecution,  and  Crosby  Place  was  therefore  forfeited 
to  the  Crown  ;  under  Mary,  however,  it  was  restored  to  Bonsevi. 

The  next  possessor  of  the  mansion  was  that  Jeremiah  (Stow  calls  him 
Germain)  Croll  who  married  a  cousin  of  Sir  Thomas  Gresham,  and 
who  continued  to  reside  here  till  1566,  when  Alderman  Bond,  the  most 
famous  merchant  adventurer  of  the  day,  who  died  in  1576,  and  was  buried 
in  St.  Helens,  purchased  it  for  /^ijoo;  while  in  his  possession,  his 
Excellency,  Henry  Ramelius,  Chancellor  of  Denmark,  who  came,  as 
Ambassador  to  this  country  in  1586,  was  lodged  here;  a  circumstance 
that  seems  to  have  set  the  fashion  of  "putting  up"  illustrious  foreigners 
here,  probably  on  account  of  the  beauty  and  size  of  the  house ;  for  it 
having  been  again  sold  in  1594,  to  Sir  John  Spencer,  who  gave  £1^60 
for  it,  a  succession  of  envoys  occupied  it  temporarily  ;  the  Due  de  Sully, 
in  1594;  the  Due  de  Biron,  in  1601  ;  M.  de  Rosney,  who  was  entertained 


12     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES    OF    LONDON 

here  by  Sir  John  Spencer,  in  1603;^  and  the  Russian  Ambassador,  in 
161 8.  In  connection  with  the  Due  de  Biron's  stay  here,  a  letter  from  the 
Lord  Mayor  to  the  Lords  of  the  Council  is  extant,  acknowledging  the 
receipt  of  their  letter,  enclosing  a  petition  from  the  upholsterers  and  others 
for  an  allowance  for  furnishing  the  Duke  Byron  (sic)  and  his  train  with 
stuffs,  saddles,  &c.,  and  requesting  them  to  excuse  the  City  from  this 
service,  as  they  were  hardly  pressed  for  payment  of  the  money  demands 
made  upon  them  in  the  service  of  the  State.' 

Sir  John  Spencer,  who  was  one  of  those  knighted  on  the  occasion  of 
Queen  Mary's  accession,  was  known  as  "rich  Spencer"  from  the  amount 
of  his  wealth,  which  is  said  to  have  approached  a  million  sterling,  an 
enormous  sum  in  those  days;  he  was  Lord  Mayor  of  London  in  1594, 
in  anticipation  of  which  event  probably  he  purchased  Crosby  Place  earlier 
in  that  year.  Under  Spencer  the  mansion  flourished  exceedingly,  for  he 
not  only  enlarged  and  beautified  it,  adding  "  a  most  large  warehouse  near 
thereunto,"  but  also  kept  open  house  here  for  a  number  of  years.  As 
Sir  John  had  no  son,  his  daughter  was  heiress  to  his  immense  wealth  ; 
but  in  the  very  year  of  her  father's  mayoralty,  she  eloped,  it  is  said  in  a 
baker's  basket  carried  on  the  shoulders  of  her  lover,^  with  Lord  Compton, 
from  Canonbury  Tower,  which  Sir  John  had  bought  from  Thomas,  Lord 
Wentworth,  in  1570;  and  which  he  used  as  a  suburban  residence.  The 
father  was  furious,  and  determined  to  disinherit  his  wilful  offspring.  In 
this  emergency  the  young  couple  besought  the  Queen's  intercession,  when 
her  Majesty,  who  always  had  a  soft  heart  for  such  escapades,  hit  on  the 
following  expedient  to  reconcile  father  and  daughter.  She  invited,  in 
1 60 1,  Sir  John  to  be  fellow-sponsor  with  her,  at  the  christening  of  a  boy, 
who,  she  said,  was  the  firstborn  of  a  young  couple  who  had  married  for 
love.  The  old  man  replied  that  as  he  had  now  no  heir  he  should  like  to 
adopt  the  child,  whereupon,  at  the  ceremony,  the  Queen  bestowed  the 
name  of  Spencer  on  the  infant,  and  afterwards  informed  Sir  John  that  he 
had  stood  godfather,  and  had  promised  to  adopt,  his  own  grandson ; 
whereupon  reconciliation,  joy,  and  gladness,!* 

Sir  John  continued  to  reside  at  Crosby  Place  till  his  death,  in  March 
1609,  when  a  remarkable  funeral  took  place,  the  details  of  which  are 
preserved  in  a  letter  from  Mr.  Beaulieu  to  Mr.  Trumbull,  dated  the 
22nd  of  the  same  month. ^     "Upon  Tuesdav  the   funerals  of  Sir  John 

'  See  note  in  Nichol's  Progresses  0/ James  /.,  vol.  i.  pp.  1 59-60.         '  Reinembrancia,  p.  409. 

'  Agnes  Strickland  says  this  occurred  in  the  thirty-sixth  year  of  Elizabeth's  reign,  but 
Doyle,  in  his  official  Baronage,  gives  the  date  of  the  marriage  as  June  14,  1600. 

■■  Histories  of  Noble  British  Families,  by  Henry  Drummond. 

'^  Winwood's  Memorials  of  State,  vol.  i.  p.  136  ;  also  Sir  Egerton  Brydges'  Memoirs  of 
the  Peers  of  England,  pp.  460-61. 


CROSBY   PLACE  13 

Spencer  were  made,  where  some  thousand  men  did  assist,  in  mourning 
cloaks  and  gowns,"  writes  Beaulieu,  "  amongst  which  were  320  poor 
men,  who  had  every  one  a  basket  given  them,  stored  with  the  particular 
provision  set  down  in  this  note  enclosed,  e.g.^  a  black  gown,  four  pounds 
of  beef,  two  loaves  of  bread,  a  little  bottle  of  wine,  a  candlestick,  a 
pound  of  candles,  two  saucers,  two  spoons,  a  black  pudding,  a  pair  of 
gloves,  a  dozen  of  points,  two  red  herrings,  four  white  herrings,  six 
sprats,  and  two  eggs ;  but  to  expound  to  you  the  mystical  meaning  of 
such  an  antic  furniture,  I  am  not  so  skilful  as  CEdipus,  except  it 
doth  design  the  horn  of  abundance,  which  my  Lord  Compton  hath  found 
in  that  succession." 

The  correspondent  goes  on  to  indicate  that  the  accession  to  such 
enormous  wealth  as  Sir  John  had  left,  was  at  first  likely  to  have  unhinged 
Lord  Compton's  mind,  and  he  speaks  of  him  as  having  fallen  into  "a 
phrenzy  "  ;  this  must,  however,  have  soon  passed  off,  for  we  find  him  in 
the  following  year  holding  responsible  office  ;  but  scandal  of  a  graver  sort 
was  rife,  for  it  was  asserted,  apparently  with  no  proof,  "  that  he  hath 
suppressed  a  will  of  the  deceased's  whereby  he  did  bequeath  some  ;/^2o,00O 
to  his  poor  kindred,  and  as  much  in  pious  uses." 

Lady  Spencer  (her  maiden  name  was  Alice  Bromfield)  died  just  a  year 
after  her  husband,  and  as  she  distributed  between  £1^,000  and  ;^  15,000 
amongst  her  friends,  Lord  Compton  appears  again  to  have  become  dis- 
tracted, and  this  time  the  matter  was  so  serious  that  Mr.  Beaulieu  ^  states 
that  "the  administration  of  his  goods  and  lands  is  committed  to  the  Lords 
Chamberlain,  Privy  Seal,  and  Worcester ;  who,  coming  the  last  week  into 
the  City,  took  an  inventory,  in  the  presence  of  the  Sheriffs,  of  the  goods 
(in  Crosby  Place),  amongst  which,  it  is  said,  there  were  bonds  found  for 
;^i33,ooo."'^  However,  Lord  Compton  again  recovered  from  the  effects 
of  too  much  wealth,  as  in  161 7,  we  find  him  created  Lord  President 
of  Wales. 

During  the  tenancy  of  Crosby  Place  by  Lord  Compton,  who  was 
created  Earl  of  Northampton,  in  161  8,  the  Countess  of  Pembroke,  cele- 
brated in  Ben  Jonson's  famous  epitaph,  and  well  known  for  her  love  of 
literature  and  her  patronage  of  literary  men,  resided  for  some  time  here, 
notably  in  1609,  although  her  death,  which  occurred  on  September  25, 
1 62  I,  took  place  at  "  her  house  in  Aldersgate  Street."  Nine  years  later, 
the  1st  Earl  of  Northampton  also  died,  not  here,  but  at  his   lodgings  in 

^  In  a  letter  dated  March  29,  1610. 

°  In  a  scarce  little  work  entitled  The  V'atiity  of  the  Lives  and  Passions  of  lilen,  by 
David  Papillon,  1651,  it  is  stated  that  there  was  once  a  plot  concocted  by  a  Dunkirk 
pirate  to  carry  Sir  John  Spencer  to  France,  for  the  sake  of  the  ransom  it  was  hoped  to 
secure.     It  was  currently  reported  that  Spencer  died  worth  ^8oo,<x)o. 


14     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES    OF    LONDON 

the  Savoy,  under  tragically  sudden  circumstances,  thus  related  in  a  con- 
temporary letter,^  dated  July  2,  1630  :  "  Yesterday  sevennight,  the  Earl 
of  Northampton,  after  he  had  waited  on  the  King  at  supper,  and  had  also 
supped,  went  in  a  boat  with  others  to  wash  himself  in  the  Thames,  and 
so  soon  as  his  legs  were  in  the  water  but  to  the  knees,  he  had  the  colic, 
and  cried  out,  '  Have  me  into  the  boat  again,  for  I  am  a  dead  man  '  ;  and 
died  a  few  hours  after." 

He  was  succeeded  by  his  only  son  Spencer,  whose  advent  into  the 
world,  as  we  have  seen,  brought  about  the  reconciliation  between  Sir  John 
Spencer  and  his  daughter  and  son-in-law.  He  was  a  fine  linguist  and 
an  accomplished  courtier,  and  Clarendon  calls  him  "  a  person  of  great 
courage,  honour,  and  fidelity."  Having  an  intimate  knowledge  of  court 
ceremonial,  he  was,  as  we  know  from  the  diary  of  Sir  John  Finett,  Master 
of  the  Ceremonies,  frequently  employed  in  the  introduction  of  foreign 
envoys  to  the  King  whom,  by-the-bye,  he  had,  as  Master  of  the  Rolls, 
accompaned  to  Spain  in  1623,  when  the  Spanish  match  was  on  the  tapis. 
He  continued  to  reside  at  Crosby  Place  till  within  a  few  years  of  his  death, 
which  occurred  at  the  battle  of  Hopton  Heath,  in  1643.  But  five  years 
before  that  event  the  mansion  was  in  the  hands  of  the  East  India  Company, 
who  probably  rented  it,  as  its  annual  value  was  then  stated  to  be  ;^ioo.^ 
Later  it  was  leased  to  Sir  John  Langham,  Sheriff  of  London,  in  1642  ; 
and  during  the  Civil  Wars  it  was  used  as  a  house  of  detention  for  political 
prisoners ;  Sir  Kenelm  Digby,  Sir  John  Jacob,  and  Sir  George  Whitmore 
being  among  those  incarcerated  here  for  refusing  to  contribute  money  for 
the  service  of  the  Parliament. 

Sir  John  Langham's  son,  Sir  Stephen  Langham,  subsequently  continued 
to  occupy  it ;  and  it  was  during  his  time  that  a  great  fire  broke  out  here 
which  so  seriously  damaged  the  mansion  that  it  was  never  afterwards  occu- 
pied as  a  private  residence.  Under  Charles  11.^  the  Great  Hall  was  used  as 
one  of  those  meeting-places  of  sectarianism  that  sprang  up  all  over  London,* 
and  the  congregation  continued  to  meet  here  till  1769,  when  it  removed 
to  Southwark.  About  one  hundred  years  previously  the  houses  in  Crosby 
Square  had  been  built  on  the  ruins  of  that  portion  of  the  mansion 
destroyed  by  fire ;  and  the  magnificent  hall  practically  alone  remained  to 
indicate  the  stateliness  of  the  original  building.     This  Great  Hall  has  been 

^  Given  in  Peck's  Desiderata  Ctiriosa. 

^  MS.  preserved  in  Lambeth  Palace  ;  quoted  in  London  Past  and  Present. 

^  From  1678  to  16S7  "  The  grand  office  of  the  Penny  Post"  was  held  here  ;  and  in  1700 
the  East  India  Company  occupied  again  a  portion  of  the  Great  Hall  for  a  year  or  two. 
Londo7i  Past  and  Present. 

*  As  early  as  1618  we  find  Sir  Robert  Naunton  writing  to  the  Lord  Mayor  and  stating, 
inter  alia,  that  the  Council  had  heard  of  a  "  confluence  of  loose  people  about  Crosby  House 
upon  a  Conventicle  of  anabaptists  there  assembled."    Remembrancia,  p.  453. 


CROSBY   PLACE  15 

desecrated  beyond  all  example.  It  was  used  as  a  packer's  warehouse  from 
1 810  to  1 83 1,  during  which  period  its  then  proprietor,  Mr.  Strickland 
Freeman,  removed  all  the  stonework  pillars  and  ornamental  masonry  of 
the  council  chamber  to  his  seat  at  Henley,  and  says  Allen,^  "  with  the 
most  barbarous  taste  erected  a  dairy  with  them  !  "  The  twelfth  Duke  of 
Norfolk  made  better  use  of  the  opportunities  that  then  presented  them- 
selves, for  he  was  so  delighted  with  the  beauty  of  the  roof  that  he  had 
drawings  made  of  it,  and  built  the  banqueting-room  at  Arundel  on  its 
model.  There  is  no  doubt  but  that,  at  about  this  time,  much  of  antiquarian 
and  historical  value  as  regards  the  fabric,  was  removed  by  enthusiastic 
collectors  who  found  it  was  not  difficult  to  persuade  the  ignorant 
custodians  of  the  place  to  part  with  many  relics. 

When  the  lease  of  the  packing  firm  ran  out,  public  attention  was 
directed  to  the  state  of  the  Great  Hall  and  what  little  remained  of  other 
parts  of  the  once  stately  mansion,  with  the  happy  result  that  the  interior 
was  carefully  restored  and  the  frontage  to  Great  St.  Helens  rebuilt ;  the 
Bishopsgate  Street  front,  although  erected  in  the  old  style,  formed  but  a 
magnificent  forgery,  as  it  was  no  part  of  the  original  building.  The  first 
stone  of  the  new  work  was  laid  in  1836,  and  six  years  later  the  Hall  was 
reopened  by  the  Lord  Mayor. 

In  the  same  year  it  was  leased  to  what  was  thereupon  termed  the 
Crosby  Hall  Literary  Institute,  and  when  this  ceased  to  exist  in  i860,  the 
Great  Hall  was  used  as  a  wine  merchant's  warehouse.  In  1868  it  was 
converted  into  a  restaurant,  in  which  capacity  we  all  remember  it ;  and 
hurrying  waiters  attended  to  the  wants  of  city  clerks,  on  the  spot  where 
once  the  great  Sir  Thomas  More  had  sat ;  where  the  crown  of  England 
had  been  offered  to  the  Duke  of  Gloucester;  and  where  "Sidney's  sister, 
Pembroke's  mother,"  had  surrounded  herself  with,  perhaps,  the  first 
literary  salon  ever  held  in  this  country.  And  now  "  glorious  Crosby 
Hall,"  as  Baron  Bunsen  called  it,  so  far  as  the  city  is  concerned,  is  as  much 
a  thing  of  the  past  as  Troy  or  Babylon  ! 

In  very  early  days  many  of  the  houses  of  the  nobles  of  the  time  were 
called  "  Inns  "  ;  thus  at  the  end  of  Silver  Street,  once  stood  Neville's  Inn, 
the  town  house  of  John,  Lord  Neville,  in  the  reign  of  Edward  III.,  which, 
in  Henry  IV. 's  reign,  passed  to  Ralph  Neville,  Earl  of  Westmoreland, 
and  in  1558,  became  the  property  of  Lord  Windsor,  being  then  called 
Windsor  Place ;  while  in  Warwick  Lane  was  situated  the  inn  or  house  of 
the  Beauchamps,  Earls  of  Warwick,  from  whence  the  street  took  its  name. 
This  house  was  once  the  residence  of  the  king-maker,  and  to  show  that 
'  History  of  London,  vol.  iii.  p.  156. 


1 6     THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

the  place  was  capable  of  sustaining  and  lodging  the  almost  princely  retinue 
that  usually  attended  that  great  man,  we  have  Stow's  description  of  his 
coming  hither  in  1458,  "with  600  men  all  in  red  jackets  embroidered, 
with  ragged  staves  before  and  behind,"  who  were  lodged  in  Warwick  Inn, 
where  "there  was  often  six  oxen  eaten  at  a  breakfast,  and  every  taverne 
was  full  of  his  meate  ;  -^  for  hee  that  had  any  acquaintance  in  that  house, 
might  have  there  so  much  of  sodden  and  roaste  meate,  as  he  could  pricke 
and  carry  upon  a  long  dagger." 

Another  branch  of  the  great  family  of  Nevills,  had  their  town  house 
in  the  heart  of  the  city,  which  was  known  as  Abergavenny  or  Burgaveny 
House,  at  the  north  end  of  Ave  Maria  Lane,  and  was  the  residence  of 
Henry  Nevill,  fourth  Baron  Abergavenny,  who  was  one  of  the  Com- 
missioners appointed  to  preside  at  the  trial  of  Mary,  Queen  of  Scots,  in 
1586,  and  who  died  two  years  later.  According  to  Stow  the  great  house 
"  builded  of  stone  and  timber,"  originally  belonged  to  John  de  Bretagne, 
who  had  been  created  Earl  of  Richmond  by  Edward  I.,  and  who  died  in 
1334.  Later  the  place  was  known  as  Pembroke  Inn,"  having  passed  into 
the  possession  of  the  Earl  of  Pembroke,  of  the  Hastings  line,  in  the  reign 
of  Edward  II.,  and  was  eventually  the  town  residence  of  that  John  de 
Hastings,  who  married  Margaret,  youngest  daughter  of  Edward  III.,  as 
well  as  of  his  son,  another  John  de  Hastings,  the  third  Earl  of  Pembroke, 
who  died  in  1389,  having  married  Elizabeth,  daughter  of  John,  Duke  of 
Lancaster ;  so  that  Pembroke  Inn  had  at  one  time  almost  a  claim  to  be 
considered  a  royal  residence.  If,  indeed.  Stow  is  correct  in  stating  that 
it  was  also  the  house  of  the  Earl  of  Pembroke  in  the  fourteenth  year  of 
Henry  VI. 's  reign,  then  it  actually  was  a  royal  palace  for  a  time,  for  the 
Earldom  of  Pembroke  had  been  bestowed,  in  14 14,  on  the  celebrated  Duke 
Humphrey,  fourth  son  of  Henry  IV.,  who  died  in  1446;  and  with  the 
earldom  went,  almost  as  a  matter  of  course,  the  property,  including  the 
London  house. 

It  appears  to  have  come  later  into  the  hands  of  Sir  Nicholas  Bacon,  for 
Mr.  Wheatley  quotes  from  a  letter  of  his  to  Matthew  Parker,  afterwards 
Archbishop,  dated  1558,  in  which  he  asks  the  latter  to  come  and  see  him 
"at  Burgeny  House  in  Paternoster  Row."  In  1611,  the  property  was 
purchased  by  the  Stationers'  Company,  which  had  been  incorporated  in 
1557,  for  use  as  their  hall;  and  they  enlarged  and  otherwise  brought  it 
up  to  date  to  suit  the  requirements  of  the  headquarters  of  a  great  City 
Company ;  it  was,  however,  destroyed  in  the  Great  Fire,  and  the  present 
hall  erected  on  its  site  in  1670. 

■■  Meaning  that  the  taverns  around  were  keeping  supplies  ready  for  the  Earl. 
2  Stow. 


WARWICK    HOUSE  ly 

Warwick  Court,  nearly  opposite  Chancery  Lane,  in  Holborn,  preserves 
the  memory,  if  nothing  else,  of  a  mansion  that  formerly  stood  on  its  site, 
known  as  Warwick  House,  the  residence  of  the  Earls  of  Warwick,  but 
which  from  a  passage  in  a  lease  of  some  ground  adjoining  granted  by  the 
Corporation  of  Gray's  Inn  to  Charles,  Earl  of  Warwick,  in  1665,  and 
quoted  in  Douthwaite's  History  of  Grays  Inn,  is  shown  to  have  been 
originally  known  as  Allington  House,  the  residence  of  Mrs.  Allington. 

Warwick  House  is  one  of  those  that  I  cannot  claim,  from  ignorance  of 
its  size,  &c.,  as  a  private  palace,  but,  inasmuch  as  it  was  the  home  of  the 
Earl  of  Warwick,  who  fought  on  the  Parliamentary  side  during  the  Civil 
Wars,  and  was  in  every  respect  a  remarkable  man,  I  think  its  inclusion 
here  may  be  in  some  sort  justified. 

Lady  Warwick  died  here  on  January  16,  1646,  and  was  buried  in  the 
church  of  St.  Lawrence,  near  the  Guildhall.  Later  Pepys  dined  here 
on  one  occasion  (March  3,  1660)  with  Lord  Sandwich,  the  Earl  of 
Manchester,  Lord  Fiennes,  Lord  Berkeley,  and  Sir  Dudley  North ;  and 
from  the  passage  in  the  Diary  where  the  event  is  recorded,  I  gather  that 
the  place  then  belonged  to  the  Earl  of  Manchester ;  while  a  curious 
circumstance  proves  it  later  to  have  been  the  residence  of  Lord  Clare, 
for  Burnet  relates  how  William,  Lord  Russell,  on  his  way  to  execution, 
passed  the  house,  and  "  observing  all  shut  up  there,  asked  if  my  Lord 
Clare  was  out  of  town,"  to  which  the  Bishop  replied  that  "  he  could  not 
think  any  windows  would  be  open  there  on  this  occasion."  ^ 

Another  mansion  that  stood  somewhat  to  the  east  of  Warwick  House 
was  Brooke  House,  which  immediately  adjoined  Furnival's  Inn  to  the  west, 
about  120  feet  from  Gray's  Inn  Road,  the  memory  of  which  is  preserved 
in  Brooke  Street  and  Greville  Street,  which  run  through  the  site  of  the 
house  and  its  gardens  which  extended  at  the  back  of  the  buildings." 

Brooke  House  was  originally  known  as  Bath  House,  having  been, 
according  to  Stow,  "of  late  for  the  most  part  new  built"  (which  seems  to 
indicate  an  earlier  owner  still  of  whom  all  trace  is  lost),  by  William 
Bourchier,  Earl  of  Bath,  who  married  Elizabeth,  daughter  of  the  second 
Earl  of  Bedford,  in  1583,  and  died  on  July  12,  1623.^  ^^  was  afterwards 
in  the  possession  of  Fulke  Greville,  Lord  Brooke,  the  "  brave  gentleman  " 
mentioned  by  Sir  Robert  Naunton  in  his  Fragmenta  Regalia,  and  who 
was  also  described  as  "  servant  to  Queen  Elizabeth,  counsellor  to  King 

'  Quoted  in  London  Past  and  Prcstnt. 

-  Those  curious  in  such  matters  can  locate  the  various  old  houses  of  London  with  the  help 
of  Ogilby's  splendid  plan  of  1677,  where  they  are  clearly  indicated  in  many  instances. 

^  Nicholas  Stone,  however,  records,  in  his  diary  for  the  year  1622,  making  "a  diall  for  my 
Lord  Brooke  in  Holbourn,  for  the  which  I  had  ^8,  los.,"  which  seems  to  indicate  that  Lord 
Brooke  had  acquired  the  house  before  Lord  Bath's  death. 


1 8     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES    OF   LONDON 

James,  and  friend  to  Sir  Philip  Sidney."  After  holding  a  number  of 
important  offices  under  two  sovereigns,  and  being  on  intimate  terms  of 
friendship  with  them  both,  besides  sustaining  an  unblemished  character 
during  a  peculiarly  difficult  period  for  preserving  one.  Lord  Brooke  fell  a 
victim  to  one  of  his  own  servants,  who  assassinated  him  at  Brooke  House, 
on  September  30,  1628. 

Two  years  later  the  mansion  was  prepared,  at  the  expense  of  the 
Crown,  for  the  reception  of  the  French  Ambassador,  probably  by  some 
arrangement  with  Lord  Brooke's  executors ;  but,  in  any  case,  it  seems 
never  afterwards  to  have  been  occupied  by  the  Greville  family.  Among 
later  events  connected  with  it,  the  christening  of  Sir  Arthur  Haslerigge's 
infant  daughter  in  1635,  ^"^  ^^e  lodging  here  of  the  French  Ambassadors, 
"where  they  were  entertained  at  the  charge  of  His  Highness,"  in  1658, 
are  recorded,  as  is  the  sitting  here  of  the  "  Brooke  House  Committee," 
which  had  been  appointed,  in  1668,  to  examine  into  the  expenditure  of 
certain  moneys  granted  by  Parliament  to  Charles  II.  for  the  ostensible 
purpose  of  prosecuting  the  war  with  Holland,  but  which  seem,  as  was  not 
then  unusual,  to  have  been  employed  by  his  Majesty  in  more  peaceful  pro- 
jects. We  find  Pepys,  on  December  i8th,  wending  his  way  thither,  and 
carrying  with  him  by  order,  the  "  Contract-books,  from  the  beginning  to 
the  end  of  the  late  war."  "I  found  him"  (Colonel  Thomson),  says  the 
Diarist,  "  finding  of  errors  in  a  ship's  book,  where  he  showed  me  many, 
which  must  end  in  the  ruin,  I  doubt,  of  the  Comptroller." 

This  was  not  Pepys's  earliest  visit  here,  however,  for  on  the  preceding 
3rd  of  July,  he  writes  that  he  attended  here  for  the  first  time  on  that  day, 
and  remained  long  with  the  Commissioners  and  found  them  "  hot  set  on 
the  matter,"  but  he  adds,  "I  did  give  them  proper  and  safe  answers." 

Burnet  tells  us  how  deeply  Charles  felt  this  "Brooke  House  business" 
which  he  "  resolved  to  revenge." 

With  these  data^  the  short  history  of  Brooke  House  comes  to  an  abrupt 
termination.  It  is  probable  that,  like  so  many  other  fine  houses,  it  gradually 
fell  into  decay  and  was  after  a  time  used  for  commercial  purposes  before 
being  altogether  demolished. 

If  there  be  any  doubt  about  the  importance  of  Warwick  House,  or 
Brooke  House,  there  seems  to  be  little  regarding  two  other  mansions  which 
once  stood  in  Holborn ;  Southampton  House  and  Hatton  House. 

The  former  was  the  home  of  the  great  family  of  the  Wriothesleys, 
Earls  of  Southampton,  and  the  industrious  Stow  gives  a  resume  of  its 
history  in  the  following  words : — 

"  Beyond  the  bars  (Holborn  Bars)  had  ye  in  old  time  a  Temple  built 


SOUTHAMPTON    HOUSE  19 

by  the  Templars,  whose  order  first  began  in  1 1 1  8,  in  the  1 9th  of  Henry  I. 
This  Temple  was  left  and  fell  to  ruin  since  the  year  11 84,  when  the 
Templars  had  built  them  a  new  Temple  in  Fleet  Street,  near  to  the  river 
of  Thames.  A  great  part  of  this  old  Temple  was  pulled  down  but  of  late 
in  the  year  1595.  Adjoining  to  this  old  Temple  was  some  time  the  Bishop 
of  Lincoln's  Inn,  wherein  he  lodged  when  he  repaired  to  this  City.  Robert 
de  Curars,  Bishop  of  Lincoln,  built  it  about  the  year  1147.  John  Russell, 
Bishop  of  Lincoln,  Chancellor  of  England  in  the  reign  of  Richard  III.,  was 
lodged  there.  It  hath  of  late  years  belonged  to  the  Earls  of  Southampton, 
and  therefore  called  Southampton  House.  Master  Ropar  hath  of  late 
built  much  there  ;  by  means  whereof  part  of  the  ruins  of  the  old  Temple 
were  seen  to  remain,  built  of  Caen  stone,  round  in  form  as  the  new  Temple 
at  Temple  Bar." 

This  extract  shows  us  that  there  was  an  adventitious  interest  attached 
to  the  great  house,  in  that  it  was  practically  erected  on  the  foundations  of 
the  Templars'  earlier  structure,  some  remains  of  which  were  shown  to  Mr. 
Cunningham  by  a  Mr.  Griffith  in  1847,  notably  the  walls  and  flat-timbered 
roof  of  what  was  called  the  "  chapel  "  of  the  house. 

According  to  Strype,  the  mansion  was  conveyed  in  fee  to  Lord 
Southampton,  who  was  Lord  Chancellor  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII. 
and  Edward  VI.,  and  who  was  created  an  Earl  by  the  latter  monarch, 
at  whose  coronation  he  bore  the  sword  of  state.  Lord  Southampton 
died  in  1550,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  son  Henry,  who  married  Mary, 
daughter  of  the  first  Viscount  Montagu,  and  died  in  1581.  His  second 
son,  who  inherited  the  titles  and  estates,  was  attainted  in  1601,  for 
complicity  in  Lord  Essex's  plot.  He  was  the  friend  and  patron  of 
Shakespeare,  who,  as  all  the  world  knows,  dedicated  his  Venus  ajid  Adonis 
to  him,  and  was  not  improbably  a  frequent  guest  at  Southampton  House. 
An  earlier  plot,  well  known  as  Babington's,  which  had  for  its  object  the 
murder  of  Elizabeth,  the  release  of  Mary  Queen  of  Scots,  and  a  general 
rising  of  the  Roman  Catholics,  was  partly  concocted  within  the  walls  of 
Southampton  House,  where  the  conspirators  were  accustomed  to  meet  to 
mature  their  nefarious  plans. 

On  the  accession  of  James  I.,  the  dignities  that  Lord  Southampton  had 
forfeited  by  attainder,  were  restored  to  the  Earl ;  and  in  the  Calendar  of 
State  Papers  is  a  record  of  a  Bill,  which  James  ordered  to  be  prepared, 
confirming  certain  privileges  to  him,  as  well  as  extending  "  the  liberties 
of  Southampton  House  from  Holborn  Bars  to  the  Rolls  in  Chancery 
Lane."  The  Earl  died  in  1624,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  second  son, 
whom  Clarendon  describes  as  "  in  his  nature  melancholick  and  reserved  in 
conversation."     He  apparently  fell  somewhat  on  bad  times  financially,  for  he 


20     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF    LONDON 

is  said  to  have  asked  the  permission  of  Charles  I.  to  pull  down  Southampton 
House  and  to  build  tenements  on  its  site,  "  which  would  have  been  much 
advantage  to  him,  and  his  fortune  hath  need  of  some  helps "  ;  ^  but 
though  the  King  brought  the  petition  before  his  Council,  and  recommended 
its  being  agreed  to,  "  telling  their  lordships  that  my  Lord  of  Southampton 
was  a  person  whom  he  much  respected,"  the  petition  was  dismissed. 

During  the  Civil  Wars  a  well  is  said  to  have  been  found  by  a  soldier 
near  this  mansion,  which  had  the  power  to  heal  the  blind  and  the  lame  ! 
What  it  could  not  do  was  to  save  the  old  house  from  the  destruction 
which  took  place  three  or  four  years  after  the  discovery  of  the  well's 
singular  properties,  although  fragments  of  the  structure  were  in  existence 
as  late  as  1850.° 

Hatton  House  stood  nearly  opposite  St.  Andrew's  Church,  on  the 
site  of  Ely  House  or  Inn,  once  the  residence  of  the  powerful  Bishops  of 
Ely,^  where  in  1399  "Old  John  of  Gaunt,  time-honoured  Lancaster," 
breathed  his  last,  and  referred  to,  it  will  be  remembered,  in  that  passage  in 
Richard  III.,  where  the  usurper  beseeches  the  Bishop  to  send  for  some  of 
the  strawberries  growing  in  his  garden  there.  The  history  of  Ely  Place 
need  not  detain  us  here  however;*  pass  we  therefore  to  the  year  1576, 
when  Sir  Christopher  Hatton,  Oueen  Elizabeth's  "  dancing  Chancellor"  and 
intimate  friend,  obtained  a  twenty-one  years'  lease  of  the  gate-house  and 
some  portions  of  the  buildings  in  the  outer  courtyard,  together  with  the 
garden  and  orchard  adjoining.  The  conditions  of  the  lease  would  seem 
curious  and  anything  but  exacting  so  far  as  the  rent  was  concerned,  for 
this  consisted  merely  of  "a  red  rose,  ten  loads  of  hay,  and  £10  per 
annum,"  did  we  not  know  that  royal  pressure  had  been  brought  to  bear 
on  Cox,  then  the  Bishop,  who,  however,  as  some  set  ofF-for  his  sacrifice 
was  allowed  the  privilege  for  himself  and  his  successors  of  walking  in  the 
garden  and  culling  therefrom  twenty  bushels  of  roses  yearly.  The 
peremptory  letter  sent  by  Elizabeth  to  Cox  to  enforce  these  terms  has 
been  long  considered  a  forgery,  although  quoted  by  Agnes  Strickland,  but 
its  phrasing  :  "  Proud  Prelate,  you  know  what  you  were  before  I  made 
you  what  you  are ;  if  you  do  not  immediately  comply  with  my  request,  by 
God  !  I  will  unfrock  you,"  is  highly  characteristic  of  Elizabeth's  drastic 
methods  of  persuasion. 

^  Letter  of  Gerrard  to  Lord  Stafford,  March  23,  1636. 

'^  Archer,  in  his  I'es/iges  of  Old  London,  mentions,  and  gives  a  drawing  of,  an  old  staircase 
once  in  Southampton  House,  and  says  that  other  remains  such  as  cornices  and  mouldings 
were  in  the  Blue  Posts  Tavern.     For  the  later  Southampton  House,  see  chapter  iii. 

^  For  an  interesting  account  of  old  Ely  Place,  see  Brayley's  Londiniana,  vol.  i.  pp.  223-231. 

*  It  is  not  within  my  scheme  to  mention  the  old  Episcopal  palaces  in  London,  which  can 
hardly  be  considered  in  the  light  of  private  dvk-ellings. 


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HATTON    HOUSE  21 

On  part  of  the  grounds,  which  consisted  of  "  an  irregular  parallelo- 
gram, extending  north-west  from  Holborn  Hill  to  the  present  Hatton 
Wall  and  Vine  Street,  and  east  and  west  from  Saffron  Hill  to  nearly  the 
present  Leather  Lane,"  ^  Sir  Christopher  erected  a  stately  pleasure-house 
for  himself,  although  Ely  Place  itself  appears  still  to  have  been  used  for 
Episcopal  purposes. 

There  is  little  doubt  but  that  the  Queen  must  frequently  have  visited 
her  minister  at  Hatton  House,  as  we  know  from  Lord  Talbot's  testimony 
that  when  he  was  once  ill,  before  he  had  come  to  reside  here,  she  went  to 
see  him  daily.  Hatton  died  here  on  November  20,  1591,  and  according 
to  Stow,  was  buried  in  St.  Paul's  "  under  a  most  sumptuous  monument." 
He  had  long  been  suffering  from  an  incurable  disease,  but  at  the  time 
popular  imagination  traced  the  cause  of  his  death  to  grief  occasioned  by 
Elizabeth's  peremptory  demand  for  repayment  of  the  jT 40,000  ^  he  is  said  to 
have  owed  the  Crown  ;  if  this  was  an  aggravating  cause  of  his  illness, 
her  Majesty  seems  to  have  repented  of  her  severity,  for  she  frequently 
went  to  see  her  dying  favourite,  and  as  one  of  her  biographers  ^  says, 
"  endeavoured  by  her  gracious  and  soothing  speeches  to  revive  his  failing 
spirits." 

After  Sir  Christopher's  death,  his  widow,  on  whom  the  property  had  been 
settled,  continued  to  reside  here ;  and  when  she  subsequently  married  and 
quarrelled  with  Sir  Edward  Coke,  the  great  lawyer,  she  succeeded  in  pre- 
venting him  from  entering  the  place.  They  fought  desperately  over  the 
custody  of  their  only  daughter,  first  one  and  then  the  other  gaining 
possession  of  her,  until  at  last  James  I.  had  to  personally  interfere  to  put 
an  end  to  the  scandal.  Buckingham  was  anxious  to  secure  the  young  lady 
and  her  money,  she  being  a  great  heiress,  for  his  brother  Sir  John  Villiers, 
and  Sir  Edward  Coke  seems  to  have  favoured  the  project,  to  which,  as  a 
matter  of  course.  Lady  Hatton  objected  ;  but  when  the  match  did  take  place, 
and  a  great  entertainment  was  given  at  Hatton  House  in  its  celebration. 
Lady  Hatton,  whose  objection  had  probably  been  overcome  by  the  King's 
persuasive  arguments,  succeeded  in  preventing  her  husband  from  taking  part 
in  it.  Nor  was  he  present  at  a  subsequent  great  feast  given  at  Hatton 
House,  to  James  and  his  court,  in  November  161 7,  when  the  King  was  in 
such  merry  mood,  that  besides  drinking  his  hostess's  health  at  very 
frequent  intervals,  he  gave  her,  on  taking  his  leave,  half-a-dozen  kisses, 
and  knighted  four  of  her  friends. 

The  wily  Ambassador  of  Spain,  the  Conde  de  Gondemar,  was  renting 

]|  Brayley. 

"  The  Diary  of  Walter  Yonge  contains  an  interesting  reference  to  the  subsequent  circum- 
stances attending  this  loan  in  1616.  3  Lucy  .A.ikin. 


22     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF    LONDON 

Ely  Place  about  this  time,  and  though  he  did  all  he  could  to  ingratiate 
himself  with  Lady  Hatton,  he  found  his  labours  thrown  away ;  according 
to  Howell,  he  asked  her  permission  to  use  a  back  gate  from  the  gardens  of 
Hatton  House  ;  but  "  she  put  him  off  with  a  compliment,"  whereupon 
the  Ambassador  told  the  King  "  that  my  Lady  Hatton  was  a  strange  lady, 
for  she  would  not  suffer  her  husband  to  come  in  at  her  fore-door,  nor  him 
to  go  out  at  her  back  door."  It  was  during  Gondemar's  tenancy  of  the 
house,  that  a  mystery  entitled  Christ's  Passion  was  acted  here,  on  Good 
Friday  night,  "  at  which,"  according  to  Prynne,  in  his  Histriomastix,  "  there 
were  thousands  present." 

When  the  Duke  of  Richmond  died  at  Ely  Place,  in  1624,  his  body 
lay  in  state  in  Hatton  House,  and  it  is  conjectured  that  he  had  been  in 
treaty  for  the  purchase  of  the  place,  for  subsequently  Lady  Hatton  com- 
plained to  his  widow  of  the  terms  of  the  bargain,  whereupon  the  Duchess 
took  her  at  her  word  and  "left  it  on  her  hands,  whereby  she  loses  ;^I500 
a  year  and  ;/!]6ooo  fine."  ^ 

These  figures  are  interesting  as  indicating  the  size  and  importance  of 
Hatton  House  ;  for  ;ri500  a  year  in  the  time  of  James  I.  represented  the 
rent  of  a  mansion  little  short  of  palatial. 

When  the  gentlemen  of  the  four  Inns  of  Court  arranged  the  elaborate 
Masque  which  they  exhibited  before  Charles  I.  and  Henrietta  Maria,  at 
Whitehall,  on  Candlemas  Day  1633,  the  committee  of  management  held 
its  meetings  in  Hatton  House,  and  from  here  started  the  procession  on 
its  way  to  Whitehall.  It  had  a  political  significance,  and  was  hoped 
to  counteract  the  effect  of  Prynne's  Histriotnastix.  It  cost  no  less  than 
;^2 1,000,  and  among  the  City  Records,  is  a  letter  from  the  Lords  of  the 
Council  to  the  Lord  Mayor  requesting  him  to  see  that  the  streets, 
especially  Aldersgate  Street,  through  which  the  procession  was  to  pass, 
were  well  cleaned  "  and  good  and  careful  watch  kept  by  constables."  " 

In  the  same  reign,  the  See  of  Ely,  in  the  person  of  Matthew  Wren,  the 
Bishop,  made  an  attempt  to  recover  the  property  which  had  been  so 
arbitrarily  taken  by  Queen  Elizabeth  ;  and  the  Court  of  Requests  before 
whom  the  matter  was  brought  in  1640,  decided  that  the  Bishop  had  a 
right  to  redeem  the  purchase,  but  subsequently  Wren  was  committed  to  the 
Tower,  and  the  House  of  Commons  reversed  this  judgment.  The  matter 
again  cropped  up,  in  the  time  of  Charles  II.,  and  Wren,  who  had  been  rein- 
stated, made  another  attempt  to  regain  possession,  but  without  any  success.^ 

During  Cromwell's  time,  the  place  appears  to  have  been  used  by  the 

'  Calendar  of  State  Papers,  quoted  in  London  Past  and  Present.        '  Remembrancia,  p.  357. 

'  In  Anne's  reign  the  matter  was  finally  settled  by  Bishop  Patrick  agreeing  to  forego  all 
claims,  on  condition  that  ^100  per  annum  should  be  paid  the  See  of  Ely  in  perpetuity. 
(Brayley's  Londiniana.) 


WINCHESTER   HOUSE  23 

Government,  both  as  a  hospital  and  a  prison  ;  while  the  crypt  of  the  chapel 
became  a  sort  of  military  store.  But  the  place  had  become  so 
thoroughly  dilapidated  that  it  was  deemed  past  repair,  and  some  por- 
tion of  it  was  removed,  in  1659,  for  street  improvements.  Evelyn, 
writing  on  June  7  of  this  year,  mentions  a  visit  he  paid  here  "  to 
see  ye  foundations  now  laying  for  a  long  streete  and  buildings  in 
Hatton  garden  design'd  for  a  little  towne,  lately  an  ample  garden." 
But  it  was  not  till  1772,  that  an  Act  was  passed  for  the  purchase 
of  the  property  by  the  Crown,  and  the  entire  demolition  of  the  re- 
maining portions  of  the  once  splendid  house.'  It  had  been  under  con- 
templation to  erect  public  offices  on  the  site,  but  this  design  falling 
through,  the  property  was  sold  to  a  Mr.  Charles  Cole,  a  well-known 
builder  of  that  day,  who  took  down  all  the  buildings  with  the  exception  of 
the  chapel,  and  formed  Ely  Place  on  their  site  in  1775. 

One  more  ancient  private  palace  in  the  City  must  be  mentioned,  be- 
cause the  extract  I  shall  give  from  Stow's  survey,  shows  it  to  have  been, 
with  its  grounds,  of  very  great  proportions,  and  also  because  it  was 
identified  with  the  great  family  of  Paulet. 

Winchester  or  Paulet  House,  in  Austin  Friars,  was  so  named 
after  William  Paulet,  first  Marquis  of  Winchester,  who,  besides  being 
the  first  nobleman  on  whom  a  marquisite  "  was  bestowed  in  this  country, 
held  various  great  offices  of  state  under  Edward  VI.  and  Elizabeth,  being 
in  turn  Treasurer  of  the  Household,  Lord  Chamberlain,  Lord  President 
of  the  Council,  and  Lord  High  Treasurer,  to  mention  but  a  tithe  of 
his  many  dignities. 

The  mansion  was  erected  on  the  site  of  the  cloisters  and  gardens  of 
the  monastery  of  Augustine  Friars,  which  had  been  bestowed  on  William 
Paulet,  as  he  then  was,  by  Henry  VIII.  at  the  Dissolution  of  the 
Monasteries.  Paulet,  who  once  described  himself  as  a  willow  and  not  an 
oak,  and  thus  accounted  for  his  retention  of  his  high  offices  for  so  long  a 
time  and  under  such  difficult  circumstances,  resided  in  the  house  he  had 
built,  till  his  death  in  1572. 

Stow's  description  of  the  place  is  unusually  minute  and  circumstantial. 
"  East  from  the  Currier's  Row,"  he  writes,  "  is  a  long  and  high  wall  of 

'  A  perpetual  annuity  of  ;^2oo  was  settled  on  the  See  of  Ely,  and  /6400  was  also  paid 
over,  the  larger  portion  of  which  was  destined  for  the  purchase  of  a  part  of  the  ground  belong- 
ing to  Clarendon  House,  in  Dover  Street,  on  which  site  a  new  Ely  House  (still  standing)  was 
to  be  erected  as  a  town  residence  for  the  Bishop  of  that  diocese.  In  the  Transactions  of  the 
London  Archaological  Society,  vol.  v.  p.  494  et  seq.,  is  an  interesting  article  on  Ely  Place, 
with  plans  and  elevations,  chiefly,  however,  connected  with  the  chapel  attached  to  it. 

'  He  was  so  created  on  October  12,  1551. 


24     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES    OF   LONDON 

stone,  inclosing  the  north  side  of  a  large  garden  adjoining  to  as  large  a 
house  built  in  the  reign  of  King  Henry  VIII.  and  of  Edward  the  VI.  by 
Sir  William  Powlet,  Lord  Treasurer  of  England.  Through  this  garden, 
which  of  old  consisted  of  divers  parts,  now  united,  was  sometimes  a  fair 
footway,  leading  by  the  west  end  of  the  Augustine  Friars'  church  straight 
north,  and  opened  somewhat  west  of  Allhallows  Church  against  London 
Wall  towards  Moorgate  ;  which  footway  had  gates  at  either  end,  locked 
up  every  night ;  but  now  the  same  way  being  taken  into  those  gardens, 
the  gates  are  closed  up  with  stone,  whereby  the  people  are  forced  to  go 
about  by  St.  Peter's  Church,  and  the  east  end  of  the  said  Friars'  Church, 
and  all  the  great  place  and  garden  of  Sir  William  Powlet  to  London  Wall 
and  so  to  Moorgate.  This  great  house  stretched  to  the  north  corner  of 
Brode  Street,  and  then  turneth  up  Erode  Street,  and  all  that  site  to  and 
beyond  the  east  end  of  the  said  Friars'  church."  J 

A  comparison  of  this  description  with  a  map  of  London  will 
give  an  idea  of  the  extent  of  ground  covered  by  the  mansion  and  its 
gardens. 

The  second  Marquis  made  various  additions  and  improvements  to  the 
place,  but  he  died  only  four  years  after  succeeding  to  the  property,  when 
it  became  the  residence  of  his  son,  who  used  it  as  a  town  house  till  his 
death  in  1598,  when  the  fourth  Marquis,  being  in  straits  for  money, 
sold  the  property  to  John  Swinnerton,  who  afterwards  became  Lord 
Mayor  of  London.  The  price  asked,  as  we  learn  from  a  letter  from 
Fulke  Greville  to  the  Countess  of  Shrewsbury,  was  /^fooo.  Fancy  such 
a  sum  now  being  offered  with  any  success  for  a  hundredth  part  of  the 
area  then  sold  ! 

It  appears  that  Lady  Shrewsbury"  and  Lady  Warwick  also  lived  in 
smaller  houses  on  the  estate,  as  Greville  states  that  their  abodes  are  in- 
cluded in  the  purchase  ;  and  he  apprehends  that  they  would  neither  care 
to  be  tenants  "  of  such  a  fellow,"  as  he  terms  honest  Swinnerton. 

The  subsequent  fate  of  the  mansion  appears  to  be  unrecorded,  but  any 
one  can  see  for  himself  the  congeries  of  business  premises  that  now  exist 
on  its  site  and  that  of  its  splendid  gardens. 

Considerably  to  the  west,  in  Fleet  Street,  but  yet  within  the  precincts 
of  the  City,  is  the  site  of  another  famous  old  house,  but  there  is  nothing 
to-day  in  Salisbury  Square,  or  Dorset  Court  as  it  was  once  alternatively 
called,  to  indicate  that  the  town  residence  of  a  noble  family  once  stood  in 

'  Stow's  Survey  of  London. 

-  It  would  appear  that  her  house  was  for  a  time  the  town  residence  of  the  Talbot  family,  for 
a  letter  is  extant  from  the  seventh'Earl  of  Shrewsbury,  dated  "  From  his  House  in  Broad  Street, 
1st  Dec.  1613."     See  jRememdrancia,  p.  isg. 


SALISBURY    HOUSE  25 

its  precincts.  Here,  however,  Salisbury  House  was  formerly  situated.  It 
took  its  name  from  the  Bishop  of  Salisbury,  whose  palace  it  originally  was. 
In  Elizabeth's  reign,  however,  it  was  exchanged  with  Lord  Treasurer 
Buckhurst^  "for  a  piece  of  land  near  Cricklade  in  Wilts."  Seth  Ward, 
who  was  Bishop  from  1667  to  1689,  told  Aubrey  this,  and  added  that 
"  the  title  was  not  good,  nor  did  the  value  answer  his  (Buckhurst's) 
promise."  To-day  such  an  exchange  could  only  be  accounted  for  by 
some  extraordinary  pressure  being  brought  to  bear  on  the  See  of  Salisbury 
to  cause  such  a  one-sided  bargain,  as  it  would  now  seem  to  us,  to  be  con- 
cluded. Lord  Buckhurst,  who  was  created  Earl  of  Dorset  in  1604,  had 
written  here  his  tragedy  of  Porrex  and  Ferrex.  According  to  Stow,  he  greatly 
enlarged  the  place  with  stately  buildings,  but  he  died  in  1608,  and  his 
son,  who  succeeded  him,  also  died  in  the  following  year.  In  the  Calendar 
of  State  Papers  is  this  entry:  "March  13,  1609.  Anne  Lady  Glenham 
sends  documents  to  prove  her  right  to  Cecil  House,  intended  by  her 
father,  Earl  of  Dorset,  for  herself  and  her  children,  which,  on  the  death 
of  her  brother  Robert,  Earl  of  Dorset,  she  now  claims."  It  was  for  this 
reason  obviously  that  the  following  action  on  the  part  of  the  third  Earl 
was  necessary,  for  we  find  him  obtaining  a  confirmation  of  the  grant  of 
the  Manor  "  of  Salisbury  Court,  together  with  Salisbury  House,  alias 
Sackville  Place  alias  Dorset  House,  and  divers  messuages  in  St.  Bride's  and 
St.  Dunstan's,  on  his  compounding  for  defective  titles,"  on  March  25,  161 1. 
Here,  in  1624,  this  Earl  died,  as  his  grandfather  had  done  in  1608, 
when  he  was  succeeded  by  his  brother,  that  gallant  gentleman  of  whom 
Clarendon  speaks  as  being  in  his  person  "  beautiful  and  graceful  and 
vigorous,"  and  to  whom  James  Howell  alludes  in  the  lines  : 

"  His  person  with  it  such  a  state  did  bring, 
That  made  a  court  as  if  he  had  been  king  !  " 

He  held  many  high  offices  under  Charles  I.,  and  on  the  murder  of  his 
master  he  retired  in  deep  grief  to  Dorset  House,  as  it  was  then  called, 
where  he  died  in  1652. 

The  great  house  was  subsequently  pulled  down,  and  a  fine  theatre  was 
built  from  designs  by  Wren  on  its  site,  after  the  Restoration. 

I  could,  of  course,  instance  other  great  houses  that  have  disappeared 
from  the  East  End  of  London,  but  those  I  have  mentioned  are  I  think  the 
only  ones  that  from  one  cause  or  another  may  justly  be  said  to  properly 
come  under  the  designation  of  private  palaces,  either  from  their  size  and 

'  Stow  ;  see  also  the  author's  History  of  the  Squares  of  London. 


26     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

importance,  or  from  the  illustrious  families  with  whom  they  have  been 
connected  and  from  whom  they,  in  most  instances,  take  their  names. 

As  we  proceed  westwards  we  shall  meet  with  a  number  of  great  houses 
bordering  the  banks  of  the  river,  and  lying  south  and  north  of  the  Strand, 
until  with  Northumberland  House,  Charing  Cross,  the  transition  to  those 
houses  which  once  crowded  together  at  Whitehall  and  other  parts  of  the 
West  End  will  be  easy  and  appropriate. 


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2  8     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

existed  so  far  as  I  am  aware,  the  buildings  and  great  gardens  of  the  Temple 
occupying  the  intervening  space. 

Essex  House,  the  site  of  which  is  still  preserved  in  the  name  of  Essex 
Street  and  Devereux  Court,  was  in  pre-Retormation  days  the  palace  of 
the  Bishops  of  Exeter,^  who  leased  the  ground  on  which  it  stood  from  the 
Knights  of  St.  John  of  Jerusalem  who,  as  we  know,  owned  much  property 
here  as  the  result  of  their  successful  rivalry  with  the  Knights-Templars  ; 
at  the  Reformation  the  house  and  grounds  were  granted  to  William,  first 
Lord  Paget,  one  of  the  ablest  of  Henry's  Secretaries  of  State,  who  after- 
wards helped  Somerset  to  put  aside  the  King's  will  on  the  accession  of 
Edward  VI.  He  died  on  June  lo,  1563,  at  Drayton,  but  it  is  probable 
that  his  body  was  brought  to  Essex  (then  called  Paget)  House,  as  Machyn, 
in  his  Diary,  gives  some  account  of  the  heraldic  decorations  used  at  his 
funeral,  evidently  from  personal  observation. 

Lord  Paget,  on  obtaining  possession  of  the  house  had  enlarged  it,  but  the 
next  owner  of  the  property,  Robert  Dudley,  Earl  of  Leicester,  seems  to 
have  practically  rebuilt  it,  according  to  a  passage  in  Stow,  and  to  have 
re-christened  it  Leicester  House.  Spenser,  in  his  Prothalamion  inci- 
dentally mentions  Leicester  House,  and  its  great  master,  as  well  as  his 
successor  here,  the  Earl  of  Essex  : 

"  Next  whereunto  there  stands  a  stately  place, 
Where  oft  I  gayndd  giftes  and  goodly  grace 
Of  that  great  lord,  which  therein  wont  to  dwell." 

And  he  continues  : 

"  Yet  therein  now  doth  lodge  a  noble  peer, 
Great  England's  glory,  and  the  world's  wide  wonder." 

Lord  Essex,  who  certainly  did  a  good  many  things  to  excite  "  the 
world's  wide  wonder,"  put  the  coping-stone  to  his  turbulent  career  of 
openly  defying  the  Queen  and  her  Government,  by  trying  to  rouse  the 
populace  against  those,  among  them  Sir  Robert  Cecil  and  Sir  Walter 
Raleigh,  whom  he  considered  responsible  for  his  loss  of  ascendency  over 
her  Majesty.  At  Essex  House  he  gathered  together  his  adherents,  and 
was  blockaded  in  the  mansion  by  the  royal  troops,  who  pointed  their 
cannon  against  it  from  the  roofs  of  neighbouring  houses  and  from  the 
tower  of  the  Church  of  St.  Clement  Danes.  Matters  at  last  looked  so 
desperate,  and  the  ladies  in  Essex  House  were  so  overcome  with  terror, 
that  Essex  had  perforce  to  surrender,  and  was  thereupon  carried  a  prisoner 
to  Lambeth  Palace,  and  later  to  the  Tower,  where  he  was  shortly  afterwards 
executed. 

'  Mentioned  by  Stow,  who  calls  it  "  Excester  House." 


ESSEX   HOUSE  29 

His  widow,  Lady  Essex,  only  daugiiter  of  Sir  Francis  Walsingham, 
continued  to  reside  here  after  his  death  ;  and  in  November  1601,  she  and 
her  mother-in-law  jointly  petitioned  the  Lord  Mayor  and  Aldermen  for 
"  a  continuance  of  the  pipe  of  water  which  had  been  formerly  granted  to 
the  Lord  Admiral  tor  the  use  of  Essex  House."  This  petition  was 
apparently  acceded  to  ;  for  seven  years  later,  another  communication  is 
extant  from  the  Lord  Mayor,  concerning  the  stoppage  of  this  "  quill  of 
water,"  as  it  was  termed  ;  the  reason  given  being  that  the  water  in  the 
conduits  had  become  very  low,  and  the  poor  were  very  clamorous  for  a 
better  supply  ;  moreover  "  complaints  had  been  made  of  the  extraordinary 
waste  of  water  in  Essex  House,  it  being  taken  not  only  for  dressing  meat, 
but  for  the  laundry,  the  stable,  and  other  offices,  which  might  be  otherwise 
served."  ^ 

During  the  following  reign,  when  the  Elector  Palatine  came  over,  in 
16 13,  to  marry  the  Princess  Elizabeth,  he  was  lodged  in  Essex  House, 
and  in  the  Calendar  of  State  Papers  is  preserved  an  interesting  note  of  the 
arrangements  made  for  the  Prince's  reception  here  : 

"  Memorial  of  what  will  be  required  for  the  tables  of  the  Elector 
Palatine,  viz.,  ten  covers  for  his  own  table  ;  eighteen  for  the  table  of 
persons  of  rank  ;  the  third  table  for  the  1 4  pages  is  to  be  served  with  what 
is  removed  from  the  first ;  and  the  fourth  for  the  24  valets,  coachmen,  &c., 
with  what  goes  away  from  the  second." 

Although  there  appears  by  this  to  have  been  some  sort  of  economy 
practised,  it  is  on  record  that  the  wedding  festivities  amounted  to  no  less 
than  ^100,000  !  ^ 

During  this  time  the  house  belonged  to  the  young  Earl  of  Essex,  after- 
wards the  celebrated  Parliamentary  leader,  as  the  title  and  estates  forfeited 
by  his  father  had  been  restored  to  him  in  1603,  when  he  was  eleven  years 
of  age.  The  place,  therefore,  must  have  been  rented  by  the  crown  for  the 
purpose  of  a  lodging  for  the  Elector  Palatine.  It  remained  the  Earl's 
London  residence  during  his  life,  and  in  consequence  of  the  notorious 
behaviour  of  his  two  wives, ^  was  alluded  to  in  Cavalier  songs  as  "  Cuckolds 
Hall."  It  was  at  Essex  House  that  he  received  the  congratulations  of  the 
Corporation  after  the  Battle  of  Newbury,  in  1643,  although  that  contest 
was  an  indecisive  one.     But  before  this  (in    1639),  a  somewhat  curious 

'  Remembramia. 

■  See  the  author's  Life  of  Charles  /.,  1600-1625,  P-  ^Si  for  some  details  of  the  ceremonies. 
Sir  Anthony  Weldon,  in  his  Court  of  King  James  /.,  speaks  of  a  "sumptuous  feast  being 
given  at  Essex  House  by  Mr.  James  Hay,  afterwards  Lord  Hay,  in  the  early  years  of  James's 
reign. 

'  He  married  first,  in  1606,  Lady  Frances  Howard,  second  daughter  of  the  first  Earl  of 
Suffolk,  from  whom  he  was  divorced  in  1613  ;  and  secondly,  Elizabeth,  daughter  of  Sir  William 
Paulet,  in  1631. 


30     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

arrangement  had  been  come  to  between  Lord  Essex  and  the  Earl 
of  Hertford,  by  which  the  latter  obtained  a  lease  of  ninety-nine  years 
of  a  half  of  Essex  House  on  the  payment  of  a  sum  of  ;^iioo,  as 
a  premium. 

The  Earl  of  Essex  died  here,  on  September  14,  1646,  and  Pepys 
records  coming  to  Essex  House  to  see  his  body  lying  in  state.  It  is 
probable  that  Lord  Essex's  portion  of  the  mansion  continued  empty  till  the 
Restoration,  when  the  fourth  Earl  of  Southampton,  the  Lord  Treasurer,  is 
known  to  have  lived  in  it  for  a  time  ;  he  died  in  1667,  and  shortly  after- 
wards, the  house  was  taken  by  Sir  Orlando  Bridgman,  the  Lord  Keeper  ; 
and  on  January  24,  1669,  he  was  visited  here  by  Charles  II.,  an  incident 
thus  noticed  by  Pepys  :  "  By  and  by  the  King  comes  out  (from  Whitehall), 
and  so  I  took  coach,  and  followed  his  coaches  to  my  Lord  Keeper's  at 
Essex  House.  ...  a  large  but  ugly  house.  Here  all  the  officers  of  the 
Navy  attended,  and  by  and  by  were  called  in  to  the  King  and  the  Cabinet, 
where  my  Lord,  who  was  ill,  did  lie  upon  the  bed,  as  my  old  Lord 
Treasurer,  or  Chancellor,  heretofore  used  to  do ;  and  the  business  was 
to  know  in  what  time  all  the  King's  ships  might  be  repaired,  fit  for 
service." 

It  is  uncertain  how  long  Sir  Orlando  Bridgman  inhabited  Essex  House, 
but  according  to  Strype,  Dr.  Barebone,  the  great  builder  of  the  day, 
purchased  the  property,  or  more  probably  took  over  the  remainder  of 
Lord  Hertford's  lease,  and,  apparently  in  conjunction  with  others,  pulled 
it  down  and  built  on  its  site.  When  this  occurred  I  don't  know,  but  as 
Dr.  Barebone  died  in  1698,  one  can  approximately  fix  the  date  of  the 
demolition.  Some  portions  of  the  original  mansion  were  for  a  time  left 
standing,  and  here  the  celebrated  Cottonian  Library  was  housed  from  17 12 
to  1730,  but  in  1777  this  last  remaining  part  was  pulled  down.  One 
interesting  relic  of  the  old  place  still  exists  in  the  so-called  water-gate,  or 
rather  the  two  pillars  and  cornices  belonging  to  it,  which  now  stand  at  the 
end  of  Essex  Street,  and  form  an  elaborate  entrance  to  the  flight  of  small 
steps  leading  to  the  Embankment.' 

According  to  an  etching  by  Hollar,  published  in  Ogilby  and  Morgan's 
Plan  of  London,  the  gardens  of  Essex  House  were  of  immense  size  and  of 
very  elaborate  arrangement ;  they  stretched  from  the  back  of  the  mansion 
to  the  water's  edge,  being  bounded  on  the  east  by  those  of  the  Temple, 
and  on  the  west  by  Milford  Lane. 

Nearly  adjoining,  on  the  other  side  of  this  lane,  was  the  next  great 
mansion  about  which  I  must  say  a  few  words,  Arundel  House,  the  site  of 

'  In  Devereux  Court,  high  up  in  the  wall,  is  a  bust  of  Lord  Essex,  attributed  to  Caius 
Gabriel  Cibber,  which  also  recalls  the  once  famous  owner  of  Essex  House. 


ARUNDEL   HOUSE  31 

which  is  preserved  in  the  thoroughfares  named  after  the  various  titles  of 
the  great  family  to  whom  it  belonged — Howard  Street,  Norfolk  Street, 
and  Surrey  Street. 

According  to  the  plan  to  which  I  have  just  referred,  the  area  covered 
by  Arundel  House  and  its  gardens  was  even  larger  than  that  of  the 
Essex  House  property,  and  the  mansion  itself,  with  its  great  courtyard 
and  little  town  of  outbuildings,  was  of  correspondingly  greater  extent.^ 

The  main  portion  of  Arundel  House — Pennant,  by-the-bye,  more 
properly  terms  it  Arundel  Palace — stood  about  midway  between  the  river 
and  the  Strand,  while  one  wing  stretched  at  right  angles  to  the  river  bank. 
Like  so  many  of  these  great  houses,  Arundel  House  was  originally  known 
as  Bath's  Inn,  having  formerly  been  the  London  residence  of  the  Bishops  of 
Bath  and  Wells.  By  an  etching  of  Hollar's,  we  get  a  very  misleading 
impression  of  the  place,  as  his  view  obviously  merely  represents  the  servants' 
quarters,  probably  the  original  buildings  of  Bath's  Inn,  and  the  small 
chapel  attached  to  them,  and  Pennant  was  evidently  so  misled,  from  what 
he  says  of  the  buildings  as  being,  although  covering  much  ground,  "both 
low  and  mean."  This  error  is  the  more  curious,  as  he  just  before  quotes 
the  Due  de  Sully  who  was  lodged  here  during  his  embassy  to  England  in 
the  reign  of  James  I.,  to  the  effect  that  Arundel  House  was  one  of  the 
finest  and  most  commodious  of  any  in  London  ;  and  another  etching  by 
Hollar  of  a  view  of  London  taken  from  the  top  of  the  house,  shows  a 
corner  of  a  castellated  building  of  considerable  height  looking  down  on 
the  more  humble  part  of  the  fabric. 

In  the  reign  of  Edward  VI.,  the  property  was  granted  to  Lord 
Thomas  Seymour,  brother  of  the  Protector,  who  had  married  Catherine 
Parr,  and  on  her  death  had  even  aspired  to  the  hand  of  the  Princess 
Elizabeth.  On  his  execution  in  1549,  the  property  was  purchased  by  the 
fourteenth  Earl  of  Arundel  for  ^41,  6s.  8d.,  together,  according  to 
Strype,  as  if  to  increase  our  wonder  at  such  a  price  for  such  a  place, 
"with  several  other  messuages,  tenements,  and  lands  adjoining." 

It,  however,  appears  to  have  still  been  known  by  its  earlier  name,  for 
Machyn,  on  the  9th  August  1553,  speaks  of  the  Bishop  of  Winchester 
going  on  that  day  "  with  my  lord  of  Arundell  to  dener  at  Bayth  plasse  "  ; 
while  on  the  2ist  October  1557,  the  diarist  records  the  death  of  "  my  lade 
the  contes  of  Arundell  at  Bathe  plase  in  sant  Clement  parryche  with-out 
Tempylle-bare " ;    the   lady  in   question  being   Mary,   Dowager-Countess 

'  Ogilby's  map  shows  that  the  grounds  extended  from  Strand  Bridge  Lane  (dividing  them 
from  Somerset  House)  to  iVIilford  Lane  (the  boundary  between  them  and  those  of  Essex 
House).  They  reached  about  700  feet  east  and  west,  and  had  a  depth  of  from  250  to  300  feet. 
This  portion  of  Ogilby's  map  was  reproduced  in  enlargement  by  J.  T.  Smith  in  his  Antiquities 
of  Westminster. 


32     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

of  Sussex,  daughter  of  Sir  John  Arundel,  of  Lanherne,  whom  Lord 
Arundel  had  married  as  his  second  wife,  in  1545.  The  Earl  himself  died 
in  1580,  and  his  grandson  and  successor,^  dying  abroad  fifteen  years  later, 
Arundel  House,  as  it  had  now  begun  to  be  called,  was  in  1603,  granted  to 
Charles  Howard,  created  Earl  of  Nottingham  in  1597,  and  better  known 
as  the  Lord  Howard  of  Effingham,  who  commanded,  as  Lord  High 
Admiral,  the  English  fleet  against  the  Armada. 

By  an  arrangement  with  James  I.,  however.  Lord  Nottingham  in  1607, 
gave  up  the  place,  and  the  King  restored  it  to  Thomas  Howard,  whom 
he  had  reinstated  in  his  titles  of  Earl  of  Arundel  and  Surrey  in  1603,  the 
Calendar  of  State  Papers  containing,  under  date  of  December  23,  1607,  a 
"  grant  to  the  Earl  of  Arundel  and  Robert  Cannefield,  in  fee  simple,  of 
Arundel  House,  St.  Clement  Danes,  without  Temple  Bar,  lately  conveyed 
to  the  King  by  the  Earl  of  Nottingham." 

This  Earl  of  Arundel  will  be  forever  famous  as  the  collector  of  those 
wonderful  Arundel  marbles,  with  which  his  name  is  indissolubly  connected. 
Van  Somer  painted  the  portrait  of  the  Earl  and  his  Countess,"  and  the 
backgrounds  to  these  portraits  represent  respectively  the  statue  and  picture 
gallery  at  Arundel  House  as  they  were  at  that  time. 

Lord  Arundel  was  the  pioneer  of  that  movement  which  had  for  its 
object  the  collecting  and  bringing  into  this  country  the  relics  of 
antiquity  scattered  about  in  Greece  and  Italy,  uncared  for  and  neglected. 
He  had  lived  for  some  time  in  Rome,  and  had  there  been  known  for  his 
lavish  purchases  of  marbles  and  other  antiquities.  He  pressed  into  his 
service,  with  the  same  object,  that  Sir  Thomas  Roe  who  was  sent  as 
Ambassador  to  the  Porte,  in  1621,  and  who  employed  agents  to  further 
his  lordship's  desires.  But  a  more  systematic  search  for  these  treasures 
was  conducted,  on  behalf  of  the  Earl,  by  William  Petty,  who  was  sent 
out  in  1625,  probably  on  behalf  of  the  Duke  of  Buckingham,  who  was 
also  smitten  with  a  desire  to  pose  as  a  connoisseur  of  art,  having  sucessfully 
attempted  to  share  in  Roe's  discoveries. 

Petty  did  well,  and,  in  1627,  the  first  produce  of  his  activity  arrived 
at  Arundel  House  in  the  shape  of  marbles,  and  a  number  of  valuable 

'  He  was  son  of  the  fourth  Duke  of  Norfolk,  who  was  beheaded  in  1572,  for  his  intrigues  on 
behalf  of  Mary  Queen  of  Scots.  When  Bernardine  Mendoza,  the  Spanish  Ambassador,  was 
in  this  country,  Mr.  Dymoke's  house  in  Fenchurch  Street  was  allotted  to  him  as  a  residence, 
but  he  wanted  to  have  Arundel  House  ;  and  in  the  Remembniticia  some  letters  between 
Walsingham  and  the  Lord  Mayor  on  the  subject  are  alluded  to.  The  Queen  appears  to  have 
settled  that  Mendoza  should  be  lodged  in  the  City  as  first  arranged  by  the  Lord  Mayor. 

-  Lady  Alathea  Talbot,  third  daughter  of  the  seventh  Earl  of  Shrewsbury,  whom  he  married 
in  1606.  Vandyck  also  painted  their  portraits  in  one  piece,  which  picture  was  engraved  by 
Vosterman  for  Lord  Arundel.  \'anderborcht  was  another  engraver  patronised  by  the  Earl, 
certain  pictures  in  whose  collection  he  engraved. 


ARUNDEL  HOUSE  33 

inscriptions,  the  latter  of  which  were  deciphered  by  the  learned  Selden, 
and  the  results  published  in  a  volume  known  as  the  Marmora  Arundel- 
liana,  in  the  following  year.  A  second  instalment  was  in  this  year 
sent  over  by  Petty,  who  seems  to  have  been  as  energetic  on  Lord 
Arundel's  behalf  as  Gavin  Hamilton,  over  a  hundred  years  later,  was 
on  behalf  of  the  then  head  of  the  Petty  family,  the  Marquis  of  Lans- 
downe. 

The  example  set  by  the  Earl  was,  as  I  have  said,  imitated  by  the 
Duke  of  Buckingham,  and  after  his  assassination,  the  Earl  of  Pembroke, 
Charles  I.  himself,  and  others  followed  Arundel's  splendid  lead  ;  but, 
unfortunately,  the  death  of  the  Earl,  in  1646,  and  the  outbreak  of  the 
Civil  War,  struck  a  serious  'dIow  at  the  cultivation  of  art,  and  in  the 
troubles  that  ensued  the  wonderful  collections  at  Arundel  House  were 
dispersed  ;  and  although  some  of  them  were  again  brought  together,  the 
almost  culpable  indifference  of  the  Earl's  grandson  (the  fourth  Earl,  of 
the  Howard  branch)  continued  the  work  of  the  fanatic  Roundheads,  who 
sold  for  a  mere  song  these  invaluable  relics,  as  they  sold  Charles  I.'s 
pictures  and  medals.  Many  of  the  inscriptions  are  luckily  preserved 
at  Oxford  ;  some  of  the  marbles  were  rescued  by  Lord  Pembroke,  but 
this  wonderful  collection  which  might  have  been  now,  as  for  a  few  years 
it  was,  one  of  the  artistic  glories  of  this  country,  was,  as  a  whole,  irre- 
vocably spoilt. 

But  Lord  Arundel  was  not  only  a  collector  of  such  things,  he  was  an 
enlightened  patron  of  art  in  its  other  branches,  and  an  evidence  of  this  is 
the  fact  that  he  invited  the  great  engraver.  Hollar,  to  this  country,  in 
1636,  and  gave  him  a  permanent  lodging  in  Arundel  House,'  a  favour  he 
also  showed  to  Vanderborcht,  a  portrait-painter,  to  whom  Evelyn  once 
sat  for  his  picture  here  in  1641.  He  also  lodged  Robert  Walker,  the 
portrait-painter,  within  its  walls  for  a  time,  and  as  Cornelius  Boll  is 
known  to  have  made  a  view  of  Arundel  House,  when  he  was  in  this 
country,  it  is  not  improbable  that  he,  also,  was  one  of  Lord  Arundel's 
proteges;  well  might  Evelyn  describe  this  liberal  patron  as  "the  Maecenas 
of  the  politer  arts,  and  the  boundless  amasser  of  antiquities." 

The  statues  and  larger  pieces  were  arranged  in  the  galleries  at  Arundel 
House  ;  the  marbles,  with  Greek  and  Latin  inscriptions,  and  the  bas-reliefs 
were  affixed  to  the  walls  of  the  pleasure  gardens  ;  while  the  mutilated 
fragments  were  sent  to  a  summer  garden  which  Lord  Arundel  owned  at 
Lambeth ;  it  would  seem,  however,  that  the  Earl's  original  intention  had 
been,  according  at  least  to  a  settlement  he  executed  in  1628,  to  divide  the 
collection,  which  consisted  of  no  less  than  373  statues,  128  busts,  and  280 
'  Hollar  etched  his  well-known  view  of  London  from  the  roof  of  Arundel  House. 


34     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

various  marbles  and  inscriptions,  between  Arundel  Castle  and  Arundel 
House,  to  be  preserved  in  these  two  palaces  as  heirlooms. 

The  Earl  was,  however,  a  collector  of  other  artistic  objects  besides 
marbles,  and  his  collection  of  books  which  his  grandson,  on  Evelyn's  advice, 
presented  to  the  Royal  Society ;  his  cabinet  of  coins  and  medals,  which 
afterwards  came  into  the  possession  of  the  Earl  of  Winchilsea  ;  his  cameos 
and  intaglios,  which  were  left  by  the  Duchess  of  Norfolk  to  her  second 
husband,  Sir  John  Germayne,^  and  the  various  pictures  he  collected,  or  had 
painted  for  him  by  Vandyck  and  Rubens  and  others,  and  particularly  his 
princely  offer  of  £'Jooo  to  the  Duke  of  Buckingham  for  an  "  Ecce  Homo  " 
by  Titian,  prove  the  catholicity  of  his  taste  and  his  excellent  judgment. 

In  Cromwell's  time  Arundel  House  was  relegated  to  the  reception  of 
illustrious  strangers  who  visited  this  country ;  and  on  the  Restoration,  the 
fourth  Earl  of  Arundel,  to  whom  the  Dukedom  of  Norfolk  was  restored, 
took  up  his  residence  here.  He  contemplated  rebuilding  the  mansion,  and 
among  Wren's  designs  preserved  in  All  Souls  College,  Oxford,  is  a  plan 
for  a  new  mansion  on  the  site  of  Arundel  House  ;  but  the  Duke's  interest  in 
the  house  did  not,  as  we  have  seen,  extend  to  its  contents,  and  Evelyn,  visit- 
ing the  place  in  1667,  and  sadly  remembering  its  former  splendour,  speaks 
thus  :  "  When  I  saw  these  precious  monuments  miserably  neglected  and 
scattered  up  and  down  about  the  garden,  and  other  parts  of  Arundel 
House,  and  how  exceedingly  the  corrosive  air  of  London  impaired  them, 
I  procur'd  him  (the  Duke)  to  bestow  them  on  the  University  of  Oxford. 
This  he  was  pleas'd  to  grant  me,  and  now  gave  me  the  key  of  the  gallery, 
with  leave  to  mark  all  those  stones,  urns,  altars,  &c.,  and  whatever  I  found 
had  inscriptions  on  them  that  were  not  statues." 

Evelyn  had  always  been  a  frequent  visitor  at  Arundel  House,  and  as  a 
member  of  the  Royal  Society  he  had  also  attended  the  meetings  which  after 
the  Great  Fire  were  regularly  held  here,  at  the  invitation  of  the  Duke,  who 
was  a  great  deal  more  interested  in  science  than  in  art,  until  the  Society 
met,  in  1673,  at  Gresham  College  at  the  invitation  of  the  Corporation  of 
London.  Pepys,  as  a  member  of  the  Society,  was  also  a  visitor  on  these 
occasions,  and  gives  some  amusing  accounts  of  experiments,  &c.,  which 
took  place  there,  and  the  interesting  people  he  met. 

The  Duke  of  Norfolk  died  in  1 677,  and  his  brother  and  successor  demo- 
lished the  house  in  the  following  year,^  when  the  property  was  developed 
into  streets  and  tenements,  which  scheme  had  apparently  been  contemplated 
earlier,   for  a  Private  Act,  of  167 1,  is  entitled:    "An  Act  for  building 

'  Walpole's  Attccdotes  of  Painting. 

^  As  the  next  house  we  shall  come  to  is  Worcester  House,  it  is  interesting  to  remember 
that  this  Duke  married,  as  his  first  wife,  Lady  Anne  Somerset,  elder  daughter  of  Edward, 
2nd  Marquis  of  Worcester,  famous  as  an  inventor. 


WORCESTER  HOUSE  35 

Arundel  House  and  tenements  thereunto  belonging,"  unless,  indeed,  this 
simply  refers  to  the  contemplated  rebuilding  of  the  mansion. 

The  whole  of  the  estate  was  not,  however,  developed  in  1678,  for  in 
1689  another  Act  was  passed  for  "building  into  tenements  the  remain- 
ing part  of  Arundel  ground  as  now  enclosed."  ^ 

Beyond  Somerset  House  to  the  west,  and  close  by  the  Savoy,  formerly 
stood  another  of  the  palaces  for  which  the  Strand  was  once  famous.  This 
was  Worcester  House,  nearly  on  the  site  of  the  present  Beaufort  Build- 
ings, which  had  in  pre-Reformation  days  belonged  to  the  See  of  Carlisle. 

In  Aggas's  map,  dated  1560,  it  is  shown  as  situated  between  the  Palace 
of  the  Savoy  and  Durham  Place,  and  immediately  abutting  on  the  Strand, 
while  its  grounds  extended  to  the  river.  It  was  given  by  the  Crown  to  the 
first  Earl  of  Bedford,  and  was  first  known  as  Russell  or  Bedford  House  ; 
when,  however,  the  family  built  another  palace  on  the  other  side  of  the 
Strand,  which  we  shall  presently  come  to,  Bedford  House  passed,  presumably 
by  purchase,  into  the  hands  of  the  Somerset  family.  I  have  been  unable 
to  find  out  definitely  the  exact  date  of  this  transfer,  but  as  the  Russell 
family  procured  a  grant  of  the  land  on  the  other  side  of  the  Strand  on  which 
they  built  another  house,  whither  they  moved  from  the  Russell  or  Bedford 
House  I  am  speaking  of,  in  1552,  it  is  probable  that  the  sale  to  the 
Somersets  occurred  not  long  after  that  period  ;  certainly  I  think  we  may 
date  it  from  the  time  of  the  third  Earl  of  Worcester,  who  died  in  1589, 
in  which  case  it  became  the  town  house  of  his  son  and  successor,  the 
fourth  Earl,  and  of  his  grandson,  the  fifth  Earl  (created  a  Marquis  in 
1642),  during  whose  residence  his  wife,  a  granddaughter  of  the  second 
Earl  of  Bedford,  gave  birth,  in  1601,  to  Edward  Somerset,  Lord  Herbert, 
afterwards  second  Marquis  of  Worcester,  and  celebrated  for  his  famous 
Century  of  Inventions,  in  which  he  anticipated  some  of  the  most  remarkable 
discoveries  of  the  nineteenth  century. 

From  Faithorne  and  Newcourt's  bird's-eye  view  of  London,  dated 
1658,  Worcester  House  is  shown  as  a  relatively  small  mansion  compared 
with  the  pretentious  pile  of  Salisbury  House  next  to  it  on  the  west,  but  as 
Dircks,  the  great  authority  on  the  life  of  the  second  Marquis  of  Worcester, 
says,  it  was  "a  building"  of  some  importance  from  its  magnitude  and 
position  as  well  as  from  the  princely  character  of  the  noble  possessor  of 
the  property,"  and  in  its  gardens  about  midway  between  the  mansion  and 
the  river,  and  close  to  Salisbury  House,  there  appears,  on  the  plan,  another 
building  even  larger  than  the  house  itself,  which  might  excite  our  curiosity, 

'  It  is  interesting  to  know  that,  in  163;,  the  celebrated  "Old  I'arr''  died,  aged  152,  in 
Arundel  House,  whither  he  had  been  invited  in  order  to  be  introduced  to  Charles  I. 


36     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

did  not  the  following  curious  story,  preserved  by  Stow,  account  for  its 
singular  position.  Says  the  antiquary  :  "  There  being  a  very  large  walnut- 
tree  growing  in  the  garden,  which  much  obstructed  the  eastern  prospect  of 
Salisbury  House,  near  adjoining,  it  was  proposed  to  the  Earl  of  Worcester's 
gardener  by  the  Earl  of  Salisbury,  or  his  agent,  that  if  he  could  prevail 
with  his  lord  to  cut  down  the  said  tree,  he  should  have  ;^ioo.  The  offer 
was  told  to  the  Earl  of  Worcester,  who  ordered  him  to  do  it  and  take 
the  ;^ioo;  both  which  were  performed  to  the  great  satisfaction  of  the 
Earl  of  Salisbury,  as  he  thought ;  but,  there  being  no  great  kindness 
between  the  two  Earls,  the  Earl  of  Worcester  soon  caused  to  be  built  in 
the  place  of  the  walnut-tree  a  large  house  of  brick,  which  took  away  all 
his  prospect." 

When  the  King  and  the  Parliament  first  came  to  blows,  a  guard  was 
set  up,  by  order  of  the  latter,  on  Worcester  House,  and  the  place  was 
ordered  to  be  searched  "  for  persons  suspected  of  high  treason  "  ;  in  which 
way  did  the  King's  enemies  aim  blows  at  his  throne  and  person  in  his  very 
name.  Two  years  later,  it  was  ordered  "  that  the  iron  seized  at  Worcester 
House  be  forthwith  sold "  ;  while  in  the  year  following  the  murder  of 
the  King,  Worcester  House  became  a  depot  for  the  security  of  treasure 
seized  by  the  Parliament,  as  is  proved  by  a  Resolution  dated  January  lo, 
1650.  It  was  also  used  for  Parliamentary  Committees,  and  was  fitted  up 
for  the  reception  of  the  Scotch  Commissioners.  Later  the  Parliament  sold 
It  to  the  Earl  of  Salisbury,  according  to  Whitelocke,  "  at  the  rate  of 
Bishops'  lands,"  and  it  is  probable  that  the  purchaser  was  eagerly  looking 
forward  to  pulling  down  the  objectionable  building  erected  by  Lord 
Worcester;  but,  in  1659,  "an  act  for  settling  Worcester  House  in  the 
Strand  upon  trustees,  for  the  use  of  Margaret,  Countess  of  Worcester, 
during  the  life  of  Edward,  Earl  of  Worcester,"  &c.,  was  brought  into 
Parliament,  and  a  subsequent  Bill  (March  14,  1659)  confirming  the  matter 
was  passed,  and  the  Countess  obtained  possession  on  the  25  th  of  the  same 
month.  All  the  compensation  she  appears  to  have  received  was  the  sum 
of  ;£700  ;  being  ;^300  for  the  year  as  a  sort  of  rent,  and  ;C400  in  settle- 
ment of  all  claims  against  unlawful  detention. 

On  the  Restoration,  Lord  Worcester  offered  the  house  to  Lord 
Clarendon  by  a  letter,  dated  June  9,  1660,^  in  which  he  says:  "Be  pleased 
to  accept  of  Worcester  House  to  live  in,  far  more  commodious  for  your 
Lordship  than  where  you  now  are,  though  not  in  so  good  reparation,  but 
such  as  it  is,  without  requiring  from  your  Lordship  one  penny  of  rent." 
Although  Clarendon  does  not  appear  to  have  accepted  this  generous  offer, 
he  did  rent  Worcester  House,  paying  £s°°  ^  Y^^^  ^°^  '^^>  ^'^^  '^^  ^^^^  ^^'"^• 
*  Given  by  Dircks  in  his  Li/e  of  Lord  IVorccster. 


WORCESTER   HOUSE  37 

on  September  3,  1660,  "between  11  and  2  at  night,"  that  the  Duke  of 
York  was  married  to  Anne  Hyde. 

Shortly  after  that  event,  Evelyn  went  to  see  the  bride,  "  the  marriage 
being  now  newly  owned,"  and  having  kissed  her  hand,  as  did  the  Lord 
Chamberlain,  and  the  Countess  of  Northumberland,  he  muses  on  this 
"  strange  change,"  and  wonders  "  if  it  can  succeed  well  "  ?  ^ 

The  other  great  Diarist  of  the  period,  Pepys,  was  also  frequently  here 
seeing  Clarendon  on  the  business  connected  with  the  Navy  Office,  and 
while  waiting  on  one  occasion  in  the  "  Great  Hall,"  he  remarks  that  it 
was  "wonderful  how  much  company  there  was  to  expect  him"  ;  while  at 
another  time,  while  Mr.  Secretary  is  awaiting  my  lord,  "  in  comes  the  King 
in  a  plain  and  common  riding  suit  and  velvet  cap,  in  which  he  seemed  a 
very  ordinary  man  to  one  that  had  not  known  him." " 

Here,  too,  occurred  that  curious  instance  of  second  sight,  which  the 
second  Lord  Clarendon  related  thus  to  Pepys,  in  a  letter,  dated  May  27, 
1 701  :  "  One  day — towards  the  middle  of  February  166 1-2,  the  old  Earl 
of  Newburgh  came  to  dine  with  my  father  at  Worcester  House,  and  another 
Scotch  gentleman  with  him,  whose  name  I  cannot  call  to  mind.  After 
dinner,  as  we  were  standing  and  talking  together  in  the  room,  says  my 
Lord  Newburgh  to  the  other  Scotch  gentleman,  who  was  looking  very 
steadfastly  upon  my  wife,  '  What  is  the  matter,  that  thou  hast  had  thine 
eyes  fixed  upon  Lady  Cornbury  ever  since  she  came  into  the  room .''  Is 
she  not  a  fine  woman  ?  Why  dost  thou  not  speak  .'' '  '  She's  a  handsome 
lady,  indeed,'  said  the  gentleman,  '  but  I  see  her  in  blood.'  Whereupon  my 
Lord  Newburgh  laughed  at  him  ;  and  all  the  company  going  out  of  the 
room,  we  parted  ;  and  I  believe  none  of  us  thought  more  of  the  matter ; 
I  am  sure  I  did  not.  My  wife  was  at  that  time  perfectly  well  in  health, 
and  looked  as  well  as  ever  she  did  in  her  life.  In  the  beginning  of  the 
next  month  she  fell  ill  of  the  small-pox  ;  she  was  always  very  apprehensive 
of  that  disease,  and  used  to  say,  if  she  ever  had  it,  she  would  dye  of  it. 
Upon  the  ninth  day  after  the  small-pox  appeared,  in  the  morning,  she  bled 
at  the  nose,  which  quickly  stopt ;  but  in  the  afternoon  the  blood  burst  out 
again  with  great  violence  at  her  nose  and  mouth,  and  about  eleven  of  the 
clock  that  night  she  dyed  almost  weltering  in  her  blood." 

Lord  Clarendon  remained  at  Worcester  House  until  the  Great  Fire, 
when  he  removed  to  Berkshire  House,"  St.  James's,  for  a  time,  until 
Clarendon  House,  Piccadilly,  was  ready  for  his  reception.  After  this, 
Worcester  House   seems  to  have    been   used    merely   for   certain    public 

'  Diary,  December  22,  1660.  ^  Ibid.,  August  19,  1661. 

'  For  an  account  of  this  house  see  the   chapter   on  Bridgewater   House,  which  stands 
practically  on  its  site. 


38     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES    OF   LONDON 

functions,  for  which  its  Great  Hall  was  well  adapted,  and  among  these 
the  Installation  of  the  Duke  of  Ormond  as  Chancellor  of  the  University 
of  Oxford,  in  1669,  ^^^  that  of  the  Duke  of  Monmouth  to  the  like  office 
at  Cambridge,  five  years  later,  are  recorded. 

Pennant  says  the  house  was  demolished  by  the  first  Duke  of  Beaufort, 
but  Thornbury  states  that  it  was  burnt  down  in  1695.  It  may  be  that 
some  kind  of  conflagration  did  take  place,  but  this  probably  only  served 
as  the  pretext  for  pulling  down  the  place,  as  we  know  that  the  Duke  of 
Beaufort  had  purchased  a  house  at  Chelsea  in  1682.^  As  in  the  case  of 
all  the  palaces  which  once  lined  the  Strand,  Beaufort  House,  when  destroyed, 
was  replaced  by  streets  and  houses, — the  latter,  in  this  case,  being  known 
as  Beaufort  Buildings. 

As  I  have  noted  when  relating  the  story  of  Lord  Worcester's  walnut- 
tree,  Salisbury  or  Cecil  House  as  it  seems  to  have  been  alternatively 
called,  adjoined  Worcester  House  on  the  west  and  in  height,  at  any  rate, 
dwarfed  that  mansion  considerably.  It  was  erected  by  Sir  Robert  Cecil, 
Elizabeth's  "  little  Great  Secretary,"  as  Sir  Anthony  Weldon  calls  him, 
who  afterwards  became  first  Earl  of  Salisbury,  at  the  beginning  of  the 
seventeenth  century,  the  Queen  herself  being  present  at  the  house-warming 
which  took  place  on  December  9,  1602.  John  Manningham  notices  the 
event  in  the  diary  he  kept  for  this  and  the  following  year.  "On  Monday 
last,"  he  writes,  "  the  Queen  dyned  at  Sir  Robert  Cecils  newe  house  in  the 
Stran.  Shee  was  verry  royally  entertained,  richely  presented,  and  marvelous 
well  contented,  but  at  hir  departure  shee  strayned  hir  foote.  His  hall 
was  well  furnished  with  choise  weapons,  which  hir  majestie  tooke  speciale 
notice  of";  and  he  goes  on  to  tell  of  the  "devices"  with  which  the 
Queen  was  received  according  to  the  custom  of  the  period.  But,  although 
this  entertainment  was  given,  the  mansion  was  in  anything  but  a  complete 
state  ;  indeed  its  owner  was  still  at  work  on  it  six  years  later ;  and  there 
is  extant  some  very  interesting  information  on  the  subject.  Thus,  on 
August  10,  1608,  and  in  subsequent  letters,  Thomas  Wilson  writes  to  Lord 
Salisbury  (as  Cecil  had  then  become "),  pointing  out  to  him  "  the  difference 
of  cost  between  Canterbury  stone  and  Caen  stone  for  the  works  at  Salisbury 
House "  ;  and  in  September  of  the  same  year,  one  Leonard  Lawrence 
tells  Wilson  that  he  had  procured  some  sixty  or  seventy  loads  of  the 
former  material  from  the  inner  gate  at  Canterbury  which  had  apparently 
been  demolished  for  the  purpose  ;  but  that  he  had  proceeded  no  further 

•  Timbs  is  probably  more  correct  when  he  says  that  the  great  house  was  taken  down,  and 
a  smaller  one  erected  on  its  site,  and  that  it  was  the  latter  which  was  destroyed  by  fire  in  1695. 
'  He  was  created  an  Earl  by  Jarnes  I.,  in  1605. 


CECIL   HOUSE  39 

because  "  the  townspeople  keeps  so  much  ado  " — as  well  they  might  I 
However,  the  difficulty  seems  to  have  been  overcome,  for  later  he  tells 
Wilson  that  the  demolition  is  complete,  and  that  he  has  shipped  more 
stone  to  London.  Another  trouble,  however,  arose  owing  to  the  diffi- 
culty in  procuring  workmen,  and  those  that  were  at  last  enlisted  had  to 
be  sent  all  the  way  from  Newcastle  where  they  were  taken  off  work  on 
the  castle  for  the  purpose. 

These  facts  are  to  be  found  in  the  Calendar  of  State  Papers,  where, 
under  date  of  September  1610,  are  certain  specifications  by  a  Mr.  Osborne 
for  the  erection  of  a  portico  at  the  river  end  of  the  garden  of  Salisbury 
House  ;  the  architect  not  improbably  being  the  John  Osborn  who  was 
also  a  carver  of  some  note  at  that  period.  The  second  Lord  Salisbury, 
who  succeeded  his  father,  in  16 12,  apparently  found  the  great  house  too 
large  for  his  requirements,  or  else  thought  it  necessary  to  retrench  ;  in  any 
case,  he  caused  the  building  to  be  divided ;  one  portion  subsequently  being 
known  as  Great,  and  the  other  as  Little,  Salisbury  House.  The  former 
he  kept  as  his  own  residence,  the  latter  he  let  to  "  persons  of  quality," 
among  them  being  that  third  Earl  of  Devonshire,  the  pupil  of  Hobbes, 
who  was  lodged  in  a  room  here  and  otherwise  befriended  by  his 
noble  patron ;  while  another  was  apparently  Sir  Thomas  Edmunds, 
Treasurer  of  the  King's  House,  who  is  found  writing  to  the  Lord 
Mayor  in  June  16 18,  and  requesting  "that  a  quill  of  water  from  the 
City's  pipe  for  his  house  (Cecil  House)  in  the  Strand,  which  had  been 
formerly  allowed  to  the  previous  tenants,  might  be  restored." 

In  the  time  of  the  third  Earl  of  Salisbury  ^  the  property  was  let 
on  building  leases,  the  smaller  mansion  pulled  down,  and  streets  and 
houses  formed  ;  while  on  the  site  of  the  house  itself,  the  so-called 
"  Middle  Exchange,"  running  from  the  Strand  to  the  river,  was  erected, 
but  not  proving  a  success,  was  later,  together  with  Great  Salisbury 
House,  demolished,  and  Cecil  Street  formed  on  the  ground  they  both 
occupied. 

As  I  do  not  include  among  "  private  palaces  "  the  great  ecclesiastical 
residences  in  London,  except  where  their  private  interest  outbalances  their 
ecclesiastical  claims,^  as  is  the  case  with  some  I  have  already  mentioned,  I 
am  perforce  obliged  to  pass  by  Durham  House  with  a  mere  allusion  ;  for, 

'  In  the  Calendar  of  State  Papers,  under  date  of  March  1673,  is  this  entry  :  "  Licence  to 
James,  Earl  of  Salisbury,  to  build  on  the  grounds  of  Salisbury  House  in  the  Strand,  and  the 
gardens,  &c.,  belonging  to  them. " 

-  Of  course,  as  a  matter  of  fact,  as  Howell  in  his  Londinopolis  states,  from  Salisbury  or 
Dorset  Houses  in  Fleet  Street  to  Whitehall,  all  the  great  mansions  built  on  the  Thames  were 
episcopal  palaces,  at  one  time  or  another,  with  the  exception  of  the  Royal  Palace  of  the  Savoy, 
and  Suffolk  House. 


40     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

although  at  various  times  it  was  granted  to  private  people  and  even  used 
as  a  residence  for  foreign  notabilities,  it  practically  throughout  its  career 
continually  reverted  to  its  rightful  owners,  the  Bishops  of  Durham.  Had, 
however,  Philip,  Earl  of  Pembroke,  who  obtained  what  was  left  of  the 
once  splendid  house — for  it  had  been  much  encroached  upon  both  as  to 
the  actual  fabric  and  the  gardens — seen  fit  to  carry  into  execution  the 
scheme  he  had  formed  for  building  another  magnificent  mansion  on  its 
site,  for  which  purpose  John  Webb,  the  pupil  of  Inigo  Jones,  prepared 
plans  still  extant,  I  should  have  had  a  subject  made  to  my  hand ; 
as  it  is,  I  must  pass  on  to  York  House  which  adjoined  Durham  House 
to  the  west. 

York  House  was  the  most  splendid  of  the  many  splendid  mansions 
that  formerly  stood  in  such  profusion  in  this  part  of  London.  Its 
ecclesiastical  traditions  were,  it  is  true,  short-lived,  but  they  clustered  around 
the  great  northern  Archbishopric  ;  its  associations  with  Lord  Chancellor 
Bacon  give  it  a  double  claim  to  be  connected  with  politics  and  literature  ; 
its  apotheosis  under  the  magnificent  Buckingham  raised  it  almost  to  a  level 
with  the  Royal  palace  close  by ;  its  very  decline  and  fall  were  so  sudden 
that  they  but  emphasised  its  former  glory.  It  is,  too,  the  only  one  of  the 
Strand  residences  (for  Northumberland  House  was  properly  at  Charing 
Cross)  of  which  I  am  able  to  give  some  more  or  less  detailed  account 
of  the  interior  decorations  and  the  splendid,  contents ;  and  so  far  as  the 
latter  are  concerned,  as  the  profuse  favourite  who  brought  them  together 
was  one  of  the  pioneers  of  art-collecting  in  this  country,  the  record  of  the 
artistic  objects  once  in  York  House  is  a  part  of  the  history  of  art,  and 
such  as  Vertue  and  Walpole  have  preserved  the  memory  of  the  most 
important  of  them,  while  the  biographers  of  Rubens  and  Vandyck  have 
necessarily  had  much  to  say  about  the  patron  of  these  painters  and  his 
remarkable  accumulation  of  pictures. 

The  London  residence  of  the  Archbishops  of  York  was  originally  at 
Suffolk  House,  in  Southwark,  a  house  built  by  Charles  Brandon,  Duke  of 
Suffolk,  in  the  reign  of  Henry  VIII.,  which  Queen  Mary  presented  to  the 
See  in  consequence  of  York  House  at  Westminster,  better  known  as 
Whitehall,  having  been  wrested  from  Wolsey  by  Henry  VIII.  Not  long 
afterwards,  however,  the  then  Archbishop,  Heath,  obtained,  according  to 
Strype,  "  a  licence  for  the  alienation  of  this  capital  messuage  of  Suffolk 
Place  ;  and  to  apply  the  price  thereof  for  the  buying  of  other  houses 
called  also  Suffolk  Place,  lying  near  Charing  Cross."  But  Heath  appears 
to  have  been  the  only  Archbishop  who  lived  in  what  was  then  called  York 
House,  as  from   1561    to    1606,   it  was  apparently  leased   as   an   official 


YORK   HOUSE  41 

residence  to  the  Lord  Keepers  of  the  Great  Seal/  or  as  Walford  states, 
was  exchanged  by  Archbishop  Matthews,  in  the  reign  of  James  I.,  with  the 
Crown  for  certain  manors  in  the  north. 

One  of  the  most  notable  of  the  Lord  Keepers  who,  in  the  course  of 
time,  took  up  his  residence  at  York  House,  was  Sir  Nicholas  Bacon, 
who  became  Lord  Chancellor  in  1558;  and  here,  on  January  22,  1561, 
was  born  his  more  famous  son,  Francis  Bacon.  Hepworth  Dixon,  in 
recording  this  event,  gives  the  following  vignette  of  the  place,  as  it 
appeared  at  that  time  :  "  This  house,  a  fief  of  the  Crown,"  he  says,  "  stood 
next  to  the  palace,  from  which  it  was  parted  by  lanes  and  fields  ;  the 
courtyard  and  the  great  gates  opening  to  the  street ;  the  main  front,  with 
its  turrets,  facing  the  river.  The  garden,  of  unusual  size  and  splendour, 
fell  by  an  easy  slope  to  the  Thames,  which  communicated  with  it  by  stairs, 
and  commanded  (a  view)  as  far  south  as  the  Lollards'  Tower,  as  far  east 
as  London  Bridge.  All  the  gay  river  life  swept  past  the  lawn  ;  the  shad- 
fishers  spreading  their  nets,  the  watermen  paddling  gallants  to  Bankside, 
the  city  barges  rowing  past  in  procession,  and  the  Queen  herself,  with  her 
train  of  lords  and  ladies,  shooting  by  in  her  journeys  from  the  Tower  to 
Whitehall  stairs."" 

The  size  of  these  gardens  is  confirmed  by  old  plans  of  London  ; 
but  the  proximity  of  York  House  to  Whitehall  is  somewhat  poetically 
exaggerated,  while  the  little  picture,  drawn  by  E.  M.  Ward,  which  is 
reproduced  on  the  title-page  of  Dixon's  book,  is  as  purely  imaginary  as 
certain  other  historical  scenes  drawn  by  that  otherwise  clever  artist. 

York  House  was  more  closely  connected  with  Francis  Bacon's  life 
than  any  other  place ;  "  it  was  the  scene  of  his  gayest  hours  and  of  his 
sharpest  griefs,  of  his  magnificence  and  of  his  profoundest  prostration."  ^ 
Here  his  youth  was  spent;  here  his  father  died,  in  1579;  here  Lord 
Keeper  Puckering  also  died,  in  1576;  and  here  Lord  Keeper  Egerton 
lived  for  at  least  a  year  ;  and  during  all  this  time  Bacon  was  in  touch  with 
the  mansion.  In  York  House  the  inquiry  into  the  Irish  Treason  was  held, 
and,  in  1588,  Lord  Essex  attempted  to  obtain  possession  of  the  place,  the 
custody  of  which  was,  according  to  Norden,  given  to  him,  and  which  was 
later  to  become  his  prison  when,  in  October  1599,  he  was  placed  under 
the  surveillance  of  Egerton.  In  James  I.'s  reign  the  inquiry  into  the 
mysterious  death  of  Overbury,  which  occurred  in  161 3,  and  for  which 
Mrs.  Turner,  who  had  administered  poison  to  him  with  a  fiendish  perse- 
verance, was  hanged,  while  Lady  Essex  and  her  lover  the  Earl  of  Somerset, 

'  A   letter  from   Lord   Keeper   EUesmere,  dated   29th   July   1612,  from  York  House,  is 
extant. 

^  Life  of  Lord  Bacon.  '  Ibid. 


42     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

who  were  the  real  instigators  of  the  crime,  were  merely  imprisoned/  was 
also  held  here. 

Shortly  before  Francis  Bacon  became  Lord  Keeper  and  Chancellor,  he 
took,  up  his  residence  in  his  old  home  ; "  and  the  affection  he  had  for  it  is 
illustrated  by  a  reply  he  made  to  the  Duke  of  Lennox,  who  was  anxious 
to  get  possession  of  the  place  :  "  York  House  is  the  House  wherein  my 
father  died,  and  wherein  I  first  breathed,  and  there  will  I  yield  up  my 
last  breath,  if  so  please  God  and  the  King  will  give  me  leave."  ^ 

In  1620,  he  sent  a  copy  of  his  Novum  Organum  to  the  University  of 
Cambridge,  from  here,  and  in  the  following  year  the  charges,  which  had 
been  impending  over  his  head,  were  formulated,  and  from  York  House  he 
addressed  his  long  and  famous  letter  of  confession  and  apology  to  the  peers. 
Hither,  too,  came  the  Sergeant-at-Arms  to  desire  his  attendance  at  the  Bar  of 
the  House,  but  found  "  the  Lord  Chancellor  sick  in  bed  "  ;  and  on  May  i, 
1 62 1,  the  great  seal  was  taken  from  him  here.  For  some  weeks  after 
the  sentence  passed  on  him.  Bacon  remained  quietly  at  York  House ; 
indeed  he  seems  to  have  only  cared  for  that  and  his  books,  for  it  had 
been  pointed  out  to  him,  by  Sir  Edward  Sackville,  that  if  he  but  consented 
to  give  up  the  place,  "  the  town  were  yours  and  all  your  straitest  shackles 
shaken  off."  This  adumbrates  what  was  in  the  wind.  The  Duke  of 
Buckingham  was  anxious  to  possess  the  ground  on  which  the  mansion 
stood,  in  order  that  he  might,  with  the  help  of  Inigo  Jones,  erect  a  sump- 
tuous palace,  and  had  Bacon  fallen  in  with  his  views,  there  is  very  little 
doubt  that  Buckingham's  great  influence  would  have  cleared  away  other 
difficulties  from  his  path.  But  the  favourite  was  hardly  the  one  to  put  up 
with  the  opposition  of  a  fallen  statesman,  and  what  he  could  not  procure 
by  fair  means  he  took  other  methods  to  accomplish,  and  on  May  31,  1621, 
officers  of  the  Crown  came  to  York  House,  arrested  the  ex-Chancellor, 
and  carried  him  off  to  the  Tower.  The  indignant  letter  he  wrote  to 
Buckingham  caused  his  release  the  same  night,  and  he  was  allowed  to 
return  to  York  House  to  sleep,  but  the  next  day  he  left,  and  went  to 
Sir  John  Vaughan's  residence  at  Parson's  Green.  Even  then  he  made  an 
appeal  to  be  allowed  to  return  to  the  place  that  was  so  dear  to  him,  but 
Buckingham  would  hear  nothing  of  the  sort,  and  James  suggested  his 
retiring  to  his  country  seat  at  Gorhambury,  whither,  rather  reluctantly,  he 
went.     Some  months  later,  he  was  allowed  to  come  up  to  York  House, 

'  See  the  facts  'i  Truth  Brought  to  Light  by  Time,  a  scarce  pamphlet  on  the  subject. 

^  He  was  made  Lord  Keeper  in  1618,  and  in  the  preceding  July,  1617,  is  a  letter  from  him 
to  the  Lord  Mayor,  desiring  that  a  lead  pipe  from  the  City's  mains  might  be  laid  on  for 
supplying  York  House  with  water. 

^  He  however  died,  not  even  in  his  own  country  house,  Gorhambury,  whither  he  had  retired 
after  his  disgrace,  but  at  Witherborne,  Lord  Arundel's  place  close  by. 


YORK    HOUSE  43 

presumably  to  collect,  and  arrange  for  the  removal  of,  his  belongings,  but 
he  remained  so  unconscionable  a  time  there,  that  the  Duke  grew  nervous, 
and  Bacon  received  warning  that  he  must  at  once  return  to  the  country. 

How  exactly  Buckingham  became  possessed  of  York  House  is  a  little 
obscure  ;  on  the  one  hand,  in  the  Calendar  of  State  Papers,  there  is  an 
entry  to  the  effect  that  "  Viscount  St.  Albans  (Francis  Bacon)  has  filed  a 
Bill  in  Chancery  against  Buckingham,  on  account  of  the  non-performance 
of  his  contract  for  taking  York  House,"  which  would  seem  to  indicate 
that  the  Duke  had  arranged  to  purchase  it  from  the  ex-Chancellor,  or 
rather  to  purchase  Bacon's  interest  in  it  ;  on  the  other,  Gerbier  states  that 
Buckingham  "  borrowed  "  it  from  Tobie  Matthew,  Archbishop  of  York 
until  the  latter  was  able  "  to  accept  as  good  a  seat  as  that  was  in  lieu  of 
the  same."  However,  the  matter  as  between  the  varied  interests  of  the 
Crown,  the  Archbishop,  and  Bacon,  was  subsequently  settled  by  the 
Duke's  obtaining  possession,  as  Laud  thus  records  in  his  Diary,  for 
May  15,  1624:  "The  Bill  passed  in  Parliament  for  the  King  to  have 
York  House  in  exchange  for  other  lands.  This  was  for  the  Lord  Duke 
of  Buckingham." 

On  obtaining  possession,  Buckingham  at  once  proceeded  to  demolish 
the  mansion,  and  to  erect  on  its  site  a  large  house,  not  apparently  as  a 
residence,  but  for  the  housing  of  his  wonderful  collection  of  pictures,  as 
well  as  for  the  reception  of  the  innumerable  foreign  ambassadors  whose 
interest  it  was  to  pay  him  attention  ;  as  well  as  for  those  great  festivities 
which  he  was  wont  to  give  to  the  King  and  Court. 

It  would  appear  that  the  palace  projected  by  the  imagination  of  the 
favourite  and  the  genius  of  Inigo  Jones,  was  never  actually  completed,  but 
if  it  was  to  have  been  proportionate  with  the  splendid  water-gate  that  still 
exists — the  only  surviving  relic  of  it,  at  the  bottom  of  Buckingham  Street, 
and  perhaps  the  most  beautiful  piece  of  work  that  even  Inigo  Jones 
ever  designed — we  can  imagine  to  what  a  scale  of  regal  magnificence  the 
completed  palace  would  have  attained. 

The  interior  walls  were  decorated  with  large  mirrors,  which  were  at 
that  time  of  considerably  greater  rarity  and  value  than  they  are  to-day ; 
and  in  order  to  cover  those  portions  of  the  building  which  were  not  thus 
lighted  up,  the  Duke  purchased  from  Rubens  the  great  assemblage  of 
pictures  and  other  artistic  effects  which  the  painter  had  collected  for  the 
adornment  of  his  home  at  Antwerp.  The  price  paid  for  the  whole  of 
these  beautiful  objects  was  one  hundred  thousand  florins,  a  great  sum  in 
those  days ;  but  when  we  know  that  among  the  pictures  were  nineteen  by 
Titian  ;  seventeen  by  Tintoretto ;  thirteen  by  Rubens  himself,  and  a  like 
number  from  the  brush   of  Paul  Veronese  ;  twenty-one  by  Bassano,  and 


44     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

three  each  by  Raphael  and  Leonardo ;  besides  many  other  fine  works, 
together  with  antiques,  gems,  &c.,  the  price  seems  to  our  modern  ideas  of 
relative  value,  ridiculously  inadequate. 

Gerbier  indirectly  indicates  that  these  treasures  must  have  been 
crowded  together  in  bewildering  profusion,  for  he  says  ^  that  Charles  I. 
once  remarked  that  he  had  seen  at  York  House  "  in  a  roome  not  above 
35  foot  square,  as  much  as  could  be  represented  as  to  sceans  in  the  great 
Banquetting  Room  of  Whitehall." 

With  regard  to  the  general  splendour  of  the  place  and  its  contents 
much  contemporary  evidence  is  extant  ;  for  instance  here  is  what  Peacham 
in  his  Compkat  Gentleman  has  to  say  on  the  matter  :  "  At  York  House, 
the  galleries  and  rooms  are  ennobled  with  the  possession  of  those  Roman 
Heads  and  statues  which  lately  belonged  to  Sir  Peter  Paul  Rubens,  that 
exquisite  painter  of  Antwerp  ;  and  the  garden  will  be  renowned  so  long  as 
John  de  Bologna's  '  Cain  and  Abel '  stands  there,  a  piece  of  wondrous 
art  and  workmanship.  The  King  of  Spain  gave  it  to  his  Majesty 
at  his  being  there  (in  1623),  who  bestowed  it  on  the  late  Duke  of 
Buckingham." 

When  the  Marshal  de  Bassompierre  came  over  to  England,  on  his 
embassy,  in  1626,  he,  as  a  matter  of  course,  paid  a  visit  to  Buckingham  at 
"  Jorschaux,"  as  he  calls  it,  which  was  the  nearest  attempt  to  spell  York 
House  he  could  compass,  and  one  who  had  been  familiar  with  all  the 
courts  and  great  houses  of  Europe,  could  speak  of  it  not  only  as  being 
"extremely  fine,"  but  as  "  more  richly  fitted  up  than  any  other"  he  ever 
beheld  !  To  the  same  observer  we  owe  some  details  of  one  of  those  magni- 
ficent fetes  with  which  Buckingham  loved  to  exhibit  at  once  his  taste  and 
his  ostentation,  for  Bassompierre,  in  one  of  his  despatches,  departing  for 
the  moment  from  more  serious  matters,  describes  the  vaulted  rooms  ;  the 
ballets  which  accompanied  the  supper  ;  the  various  changes  of  courses, 
interspersed  by  theatrical  displays,  and  the  beautiful  music  ;  and  he  also 
notes  the  Duke's  contrivance  of  having  a  turning  door,  only  admitting 
one  person  at  a  time,  in  order  to  obviate  undue  pressure. 

In  the  Sloane  MSS.  is  a  letter  which  contains  this  notice  of  another  of 
these  entertainments :  "  Last  Sunday,  at  night,  the  duke's  grace  enter- 
tained their  majesties  and  the  french  Ambassador  at  York  House  with 
great  feasting  and  show,  where  all  things  came  down  in  clouds,  amongst 
which  one  rare  device  was  a  representation  of  the  French  King,  and  the 
two  Queens,  with  their  chiefest  attendants,  and  so  to  the  life,  that  the 
Queen's  majesty  could  name  them.  It  was  four  o'clock  in  the  morning 
before  they  parted,  and  then  the  King  and  Queen,  together  with  the 
'  "Discourse  on  Building,"  quoted  in  London  Past  and Prcsoii. 


YORK  HOUSE  45 

French  Ambassador,  lodged  there.  Some  estimate  this  entertainment  at 
five  or  six  thousand  pounds."  ^ 

But  Buckingham  did  not  spend  all  his  substance  on  such  ephemeral 
delights;  as  we  have  seen,  he  bought  Rubens's  wondrous  collection;  he 
was,  besides,  a  patron  of  that  great  man  as  well  as  of  Vandyck,  and  others, 
and  Gentileschi  is  known  to  have  worked  for  him  at  York  House,  where 
was  a  ceiling  representing  the  nine  Muses  in  a  circle  by  this  painter,  who 
also  painted  the  Villiers  family  in  one  group,  and  a  picture,  not  less  than 
eight  feet  by  five,  of  a  Magdalen  lying  in  a  grotto,  which  also  hung  here ; 
while  the  splendid  group  of  the  Duke  surrounded  by  his  family,  the  work 
of  Honthorst,  now  at  Hampton  Court,  and  the  many  portraits  of  him  by 
other  painters  of  the  reign  of  James  and  Charles,  show  Buckingham  to  have 
been  a  splendid  patron  of  art,  even  if,  as  his  enemies  were  fond  of  asserting, 
vanity  was  its  mainspring. 

Balthazar  Gerbier,  whom  the  Duke  employed,  not  only  in  the  produc- 
tion of  his  princely  entertainments,  but  also  in  the  collection  of  works  of 
art,  once  wrote  to  his  employer  in  these  terms:  "Sometimes,  when  I  am 
contemplating  the  treasure  of  rarities  which  your  excellency  has  in  so 
short  a  time  amassed,  I  cannot  but  feel  astonishment  in  the  midst  of  my 
joy.  For  out  of  all  the  amateurs,  and  princes,  and  Kings,  there  is  not 
one  who  has  collected  in  forty  years  as  many  pictures  as  your  Excellency 
has  collected  in  five."  - 

In  1645,  the  Parliament  ordered  all  "  the  superstitious  pictures  in  York 
House,"  by  which  they  indicated  all  those  that  represented  sacred  subjects, 
to  be  sold,  but,  before  this  order  could  be  enforced,  some  of  them  were 
sent  out  of  the  country,  and  were  purchased  by  the  Archduke  Leopold, 
including  the  magnificent  Titian  for  which  Lord  Arundel  had  once  offered 
the  Duke  ;^7ooo,  as  I  have  before  mentioned. 

York  House  itself  was  presented  to  Fairfax,  whose  daughter  the  second 
Duke  of  Buckingham,  made  for  ever  memorable  by  Dryden's  lines,  married 
in  September  1657,  and  thus  the  property  reverted  to  the  Villiers  family, 
Cromwell  giving  the  Duke  permission  to  reside  at  York  House,  on  the 
understanding  that  he  was  not  to  quit  it  without  the  Protector's  leave. 
Of  course,  Buckingham  tried  to  override  the  arrangement,  and  was  promptly 
lodged  in  the  Tower ;  a  proceeding  that  caused  high  words  between  his 
father-in-law  and  Cromwell. 

1  This,  it  is  probable,  was  identical  with  the  banquet  mentioned  by  Walter  Yonge  in  his 
Diary,  as  costing  ^4000,  and  during  which  he  says  "  the  sweet  water  which  cost  ^200  came 
down  the  room  as  a  shower  from  heaven,"  and  notes  "the  banquet  let  down  in  a  sheet  upon  the 
table,  no  man  seeing  how  it  came."  November  1626.  Bassompierre  also  gives  an  account  of 
this  great  feast. 

-  Quoted  in  Bishop  Goodman's  Memoirs. 


46     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

The  second  Duke  of  Buckingham  died  in  1687;  but  according  to 
Evelyn,  York  House  had  begun  to  be  neglected  even  as  early  as  1655, 
when  he  went  to  see  it.  For  some  years  afterwards  it  was  let  as  a 
temporary  embassy;  thus,  in  1661,  the  Spanish  Ambassador  rented  it; 
when  Pepys  once  walked  through  it,  during  Mass,  and  was  disappointed 
with  the  gardens;  and  in  1663,  the  Russian  Ambassador  was  here,  on 
which  occasion  the  Diarist  made  another  visit,  and  was  chiefly  pleased  with 
"  the  remains  of  the  noble  soul  of  the  late  Duke  of  Buckingham  appearing 
in  his  house,  in  every  place,  in  the  door  cases  and  the  windows,"  as  he 
quaintly  puts  it.  It  was  on  the  occasion  of  York  House  being  occupied 
by  the  Russian  Envoy  that  the  Earl  of  Manchester,  then  a  joint  Com- 
missioner for  the  office  of  Earl  Marshal,  wrote  to  the  Lord  Mayor,  desiring 
that  the  water-pipes  connected  with  the  mansion  should  be  repaired. 

I  do  not  know  what  the  Spanish  and  Russian  Ambassadors  paid  for  the 
use  of  York  House,  but  Mr.  Wheatley  mentions  the  sum  of  ^^1359,  los. 
as  being,  in  1668,  the  rental  of  the  place  ;  four  years  later,  however,  the 
Duke  sold  it  to  certain  undertakers,  as  building  speculators  were  then  called, 
named  Eldyn,  Higgs,  and  Hill,  who  demolished  the  mansion,  and  on  its 
site  and  that  of  its  fine  gardens  built  those  streets  which  still,  by  their 
names,  perpetuate  the  Duke  of  magnificent  memory,  and  in  which  his 
name  and  title  is  thus  curiously  preserved :  George  (Street)  Villiers 
(Street),  Duke  (Street)  Of  (Alley)  and  Buckingham  (Street).^ 

It  is  said  that  the  second  Duke  made  it  a  condition  with  the  purchasers 
that  he  should  be  thus  commemorated,  which  is  satirised  in  a  line  in  the 
so-called  Litany  of  the  Duke  of  Buckingham — 

"  Calling  streets  by  our  name  when  we  have  sold  the  land," 

but  it  is  probable  that  these  names  will  always  rather  recall  the  splendour 
of  the  first  Duke  than  the  inconsistency  of  the  second. 

Before  saying  anything  about  Northumberland  House,  there  remain 
three  other  palaces  in  the  Strand  which  require  some  notice,  although  what 
is  known  of  them  is  only  sufficient  to  give  us  a  more  or  less  vague  idea  of 
their  splendour.  These  mansions  stood  on  the  north  side  of  the  street,  and 
the  first  of  them,  i.e.  the  most  easterly,  was  Wimbledon  House,  which 
was  erected  probably  at  the  close  of  the  sixteenth  century  by  Sir  Edward 
Cecil,  third  son  of  the  first  Earl  of  Exeter,  who  was  created  Viscount 
Wimbledon  in   1625,  and  who  died  thirteen  years  later.     Inigo  Jones  is 

'  Hollar  made  a  drawing  of  the  house,  which  is  preserved  in  the  Pepysian  Library  at 
Cambridge,  and  is  reproduced  in  Wilkinson's  Loiidina  Illustrata. 


EXETER  HOUSE  47 

said  to  have  designed  the  mansion,  which  Strype  calls  "  a  very  handsome 
house."  The  chief  portion  of  it  was  destroyed  by  fire  in  1628,  and  what 
remained  was  pulled  down  in  1782.  It  was  erected  on  part  of  the  Exeter 
House  property,  at  the  north-east  corner  of  the  present  Wellington  Street, 
but  little  or  nothing  seems  to  be  known  of  it  beyond  these  few  facts,  and 
it  is  rather  curious  that  its  name  is  not  preserved  in  any  of  the  streets 
which  now  cover,  or  are  adjacent  to,  the  site  where  it  once  stood  ;  perhaps 
we  may  from  this  conclude  that  although  a  large  house,  it  was  not  on  the 
scale  of  magnificence  of  the  other  mansions  in  the  Strand  which  have 
nearly  all  received  in  this  way  some  posthumous  record.  One  of  the 
chief  of  these  was  Burleigh,  Cecil,  or  Exeter  House  as  it  was  variously 
termed,  which  once  stood  on  the  site  of  Burleigh  and  Exeter  Streets 
and  their  adjacent  houses. 

The  genesis  of  Exeter  House  was  sufficiently  humble,  for  on  this  spot 
originally  stood  a  rectory-house  attached  to  the  Church  of  St.  Clement 
Danes,  "  with  a  garden  and  close  for  the  parson's  horse."  In  the  reign  of 
Edward  VI.,  however,  this  small  property  came  into  the  hands  of  Sir 
Thomas  Palmer,  who  pulled  down  the  old  buildings  and  "rebuilt  the 
same  of  brick  and  timber  very  large  and  spacious,"  ^  indeed  in  such  a 
complete  way  that  it  was  described  as  a  magnificent  house.  Palmer,  who 
was  called  "  buskin  Palmer,"  and  was  an  adherent  of  the  Duke  of  Somerset, 
was  subsequently  accused  of  high  treason,  and  his  property,  including  the 
mansion,  was  forfeited  to  the  Crown.  He  had  received  a  free  pardon  in 
February  1552,  but  on  the  25th  July  1553,  he  was  sent  to  the  Tower 
with,  among  others,  the  Duke  of  Northumberland,  and  on  the  following 
19th  of  August  was  ordered  to  be  hanged  and  quartered,  a  sentence 
which  was  changed  to  that  of  beheading  ;  he  suffered  with  the  Duke  and 
Sir  John  Gates  three  days  later  on  Tower  Hill. 

Elizabeth  granted  the  place  to  Sir  William  Cecil,  who,  according  to 
Stow,  "  beautifully  increased  it  "  ;  while  Norden "  thus  speaks  of  it  under 
its  new  master :  "  The  house  of  the  ryght  honourable  Lord  Burleigh, 
Lord  High  Treasurer  of  England  and  by  him  erected.  Standinge  on  the 
north  side  of  the  Stronde,  a  verie  fayre  howse  raysed  with  brickes,  pro- 
portionablie  adorned  with  four  turrets  placed  at  the  four  quarters  of  the 
howse  ;  within  it  is  curiouslye  beautified  with  rare  devises,  and  especially 
the  oratory,  placed  in  an  angle  of  the  great  chamber.  Unto  this  is 
annexed  on  the  east  a  proper  howse  *  of  the  honourable  Sir  Robert 
Cecill  Knight,  and  of  Her  Mats:  most  honourable  Prevye  Counsayle." 

'  Gentlcmaii s  Magazine,  London  Topography. 

-  Norden's  Middlesex,  Harleian  MS.     Quoted  in  London  Past  ami  Present. 

'  This  was  Wimbledon  House. 


48     THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Allen,  in  his  History  of  London,  quotes,  as  evidence  of  the  princely 
style  in  which  Lord  Burleigh  lived,  the  Desiderata  Curiosa,  where  it  is 
stated  that  his  housekeeping  charges  when  he  was  in  residence  were  ^40  to 
;^50  a  week  for  his  London  house  alone.  He  kept  no  less  than  eighty 
servants,  and  at  the  same  time  had  the  great  establishments  of  Theobalds 
and  Burleigh  on  his  hands,  besides  his  heavy  expenses  at  Court ;  while  his 
almsgiving  alone  amounted  to  ;^500  a  year,  and  his  stables  cost  him 
1000  marks  yearly. 

From  old  plans,  Exeter  House  is  shown  as  facing  the  Strand  ;  its 
gardens  extending  from  the  west  side  of  the  garden-wall  of  Wimbledon 
House  to  the  green  lane,  which  is  now  Southampton  Street. 

Here  Lord  Burleigh  was  visited  by  Elizabeth,  and  in  the  diary  he 
kept  is  this  entry  for  July  14,  1561  :  "The  Queene  supped  at  my 
house  in  Strand  before  it  was  fully  finished "  ;  a  circumstance  also 
recorded  by  Machyn,  who,  however,  places  the  event  a  day  earlier  thus : 
"The  xiii.  day  of  July — the  same  nyght  the  Queens  grace  whent  from 
the  Charterhouse  by  Clerkynewelle  over  the  feldes  unto  the  Savoy  unto 
Master  secretore  Syssell  to  soper,  and  ther  was  the  Counsell  and  many 
lordes  and  knyghtes  and  ladies  and  gentyll-women,  and  ther  was  grett 
chere  tyll  mydenyght."  The  Queen  came  on  another  occasion  to  see 
Lord  Burleigh  here,  and  finding  him  suffering  from  gout  made  him  sit  in 
her  presence,  saying,  "  My  Lord,  we  make  use  of  you  not  for  the  badness 
of  your  legs  but  for  the  goodness  of  your  head."  There  is  also  a 
tradition  that  once  calling  here,  decorated  with  that  elaborate  headdress 
she  was  wont  to  affect,  the  servant  asked  her  to  stoop  in  going  through  a 
door,  when  she  replied,  "For  your  master's  sake  I  will  stoop,"  adding 
somewhat  irrelevantly,  "but  not  for  the  King  of  Spain." 

Another  entry  in  Lord  Burleigh's  Diary  records  the  birth  of  his 
daughter  Elizabeth  here,  on  July  i,  1564;  while  in  Massingham's 
Journal  it  is  noted  that  Tarleton,  who  was  a  comedian  of  the  period, 
"  called  Burley  House  gate  in  the  Strand  towards  the  Savoy,  the  Lord 
Treasurer's  Almes  gate,  because  it  was  seldom  or  never  opened,"  in  which 
remark  I  fear  the  actor  allowed  his  love  for  a  jest  to  get  the  better  of  his 
veracity,  for,  as  I  have  pointed  out.  Lord  Burleigh's  benefactions  to  the 
poor  were  on  a  most  lavish  scale. 

Burleigh  died  on  August  4,  1598,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  son, 
Thomas  Cecil,  who  was  created  Earl  of  Exeter  in  1605,  when  the  name 
of  the  house  was  changed  from  Burleigh  to  Exeter.  I  find  the  Lady 
Hatton,  mentioned  previously,  living  here  in  1617,  she  probably  having 
rented  it ;  and  in  this  year  she  entertained  the  King  and  Queen  here,  but 
true  to  her  resentment  against  her  second  husband,  Sir  Edward  Coke,  she 


EXETER    HOUSE  49 

would  not  permit  him  to  be  one  of  the  company,  although  James  himself 
desired  his  presence  !  * 

In  1623,  when  the  "Spanish  match  "  was  still  supposed  to  be  a  fait 
accompli,  and  James  was  expecting  the  Infanta  over  here,  he  desired  to 
borrow  Exeter  House  in  order  to  instal  some  of  her  suite  here.  The 
first  Lord  Exeter  had  died  in  the  February  of  this  year,  and  the  place  was 
still  let  apparently  to  several  people,  for  the  second  Earl,  while  complying 
in  a  hesitating  way  with  the  King's  request,  replied  that  "  he  could  not 
find  it  in  his  heart  to  bid  those  in  it  begone,  especially  Lord  Denny  " ; 
and  he  shifts  the  responsibility  of  giving  them  notice  to  the  Lord 
Treasurer.  The  latter  evidently  arranged  the  business  satisfactorily, 
for,  on  June  17,  the  Spanish  Ambassador  Extraordinary  was  conveyed 
with  many  coaches  to  Exeter  House,  which  was  richly  furnished  and 
decorated  for  his  reception." 

The  chapel  attached  to  the  house  seems  to  have  been  fitted  up  as 
a  Roman  Catholic  place  of  worship  for  the  use  of  Henrietta  Maria,  in 
the  next  reign,  at  which  time  the  Duchess  of  Richmond  was  occupying  the 
mansion  itself;  and  it  was  in  this  chapel  that  Evelyn,  attending  the 
celebration  on  Christmas  Day  1657,  was,  with  others,  detained  by 
the  Puritan  soldiers,  on  the  ground  that  none  should  any  longer  observe 
the  superstitious  time  of  the  nativity ;  but  after  being  examined  in  a 
room  in  Exeter  House  by  certain  officers,  was  allowed  to  depart,  they 
dismissing  him  "  with  much  pity  for  his  ignorance  "  ! 

After  the  Great  Fire,  the  house  was  rented  by  the  Government  for  the 
holding  here  of  the  Court  of  Arches  and  Prerogative  Courts  which  the 
burning  of  Doctors'  Commons  had  left  homeless.  Later  still,  the  first 
Earl  of  Shaftesbury  was  living  here;  and  here,  in  1671,  was  born  his 
grandson,  the  third  Earl  and  author  of  the  famous  Characteristics.  Lord 
Shaftesbury  had  married,  en  second  noces,  Lady  Francis  Cecil,  daughter  of 
the  third  Earl  of  Exeter,  in  1650,  which  may  be  sufficient  to  account  for 
his  presence  as  an  occupant  of  the  house.  He,  however,  removed  to 
Thanet  House  in  the  City,  in  1676,  as  I  have  before  mentioned:  but 
it  was  during  his  sojourn  in  the  Strand  that  John  Locke  was  a  resident 
here,  as  he  continued  to  be  in  Thanet  House,  in  the  capacity  of  tutor 
to  Lord  Ashley,  and  physician  to  the  household,  and  while  here  he  was 
engaged  on  his  great  work  on  the  Human  Understanding. 

With  the  departure  of  Lord  Shaftesbury,  the  history  of  this  interesting 
old  house  closes,  for  soon  afterwards  it  was   pulled   down,  and   its  site 

1  We  know  Lady  Hatton  entertained  their  Majesties  at  Hatton  House,  in  November  of  this 
year  ;  so  it  is  probable  that  she  had  just  taken  Exeter  House  when  she  was  again  thus  honoured. 
-  Calendar  of  State  Papers. 

D 


50    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES    OF   LONDON 

covered  with  streets  and  buildings,  among  the  latter  being  the  once  well- 
known  Exeter  'Change.  In  1855,  the  second  Marquis  of  Exeter  sold  the 
property  on  the  site  of  Exeter  House  for  something  over  ;^50,ooo. 

Although  Sorbi^re  in  his  Voyage  en  Angleterre  (1666)  speaks  of  old 
Bedford  House  in  the  Strand,  which  stood  a  little  west  of  where  South- 
ampton Street  runs,  as  "  Le  Palais  de  Bethfordt,"  I  don't  know  that  it 
should  rightly  be  included  among  residences  with  this  high-sounding  title. 
Strype  calls  it  "  a  large  but  old  built  house  with  a  great  yard  before  it 
for  the  reception  of  carriages  ;  with  a  spacious  garden  having  a  terrace- 
walk  adjoining  to  the  brick  wall  next  the  garden,  behind  which  were  the 
coach-houses  and  stables,  with  a  conveyance  into  Charles  Street  through  a 
large  gate,"  and  by  Blome's  map  of  the  parish  of  St.  Paul's,  Covent 
Garden,  the  mansion  is  shown  standing  at  right  angles  (looking  east)  to 
the  Strand,  with  its  gardens,  stretching  from  the  south  side  of  the  Piazza 
of  Covent  Garden  to  the  Strand,  and  as  far  as  Exeter  House  to  the  east.^ 
But  notwithstanding  that  it  was,  for  the  period,  a  relatively  large  house, 
and  belonged  to  the  noble  family  of  Bedford  from  about  the  time  of  its 
erection  in  1552,  till  so  late  as  1704,  when  they  left  it  for  the  splendid 
mansion  in  Bloomsbury,  when  it  was  thereupon  demolished,  it  appears  to 
me  to  have  not  been  on  that  scale  of  grandeur  which  characterised  the 
other  noble  houses  in  the  Strand  I  have  mentioned,  for  which  reason  I 
shall  leave  it  and  pass  on  to  the  splendid  town  residence  of  the  Percies 
at  Charing  Cross — which  down  to  our  own  day  was  known  as  Northum- 
berland House. 

It  is  a  curious  fact,  and  one  which  gives  food  for  much  reflection,  that 
Northumberland  House,  of  all  the  old  private  palaces  of  London,  was 
the  only  one  which  survived  till  the  latter  half  of  the  nineteenth  century ; 
most  of  them,  as  we  have  seen,  were  demolished  in  favour  of  building 
development ;  a  few  were  replaced  by  mansions  more  sumptuous  and  more 
consonant  with  the  times  in  which  they  were  erected,  but  not  one,  except 
the  London  house  of  the  Percies,  remained  intact  till  our  own  time. 

In  1475,  there  had  been  erected,  on  the  spot  where  Northumberland 
House  was  afterwards  to  stand,  a  cell  with  a  chapel  adjoining  named  St. 
Mary  Rouncivall,  from  the  convent  of  Roncesvalles  in  Navarre,  with  which 
it  was  connected  ;  at  about  the  time  of  the  Reformation,  however,  this, 
in  common  with  the  other  religious  houses,  was  suppressed,  and  the  land 
on  which  it   stood  let   out  in  various  tenements.     Such   at   least   is   the 

•  Smith,  in  his  Antiquities  of  Westminster,  reproduces  an  enlargement  of  the  ground  plan 
of  the  property. 


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52     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES    OF   LONDON 

his  daughter,  Lady  Margaret  Howard,  was  married  to  Roger  Boyle,  Lord 
Broghill,  and  it  was  to  this  circumstance  that  Suckling  refers  in  his 
famous  and  delightful  Ballad  on  a  Weddings  the  scene  of  which  took  place 
here,  where,  as  the  poet  sings  : 

"  At  Charing  Cross,  hard  by  the  way 
Where  we  (thou  know'st)  do  sell  our  hay, 
There  is  a  house  with  stairs." 

Suckling,  who,  one  supposes,  was  a  guest  at  the  function,  describes  the 
wedding  as  a  countryman  might  be  supposed  to  do  ;  whence  the  emphasis 
on  the  house  having  stairs,  and  the  rustic  turn  of  the  language  which 
curiously  enough  enshrines  those  exquisite  conceits  and  perfect  com- 
parisons which  make  the  poem  a  gem  of  its  kind,  unsurpassed  and 
unsurpassable. 

Lord  Suffolk  changed  the  name  of  the  mansion  to  Suffolk  House, 
although  letters  from  him,  in  July  and  August  1614,  are  still  dated  from 
Northampton  House,  and  completed  the  place  by  adding  the  front  facing 
the  river  ; '  but  after  occupying  it  for  twelve  years,  he  died,  in  1 626,  and  was 
succeeded  by  his  son  Theophilus,  whose  second  daughter  Elizabeth  married 
in  1642,  as  his  second  wife,  Algernon  Percy,  tenth  Earl  of  Northumberland. 
The  second  Earl  of  Suffolk  died  four  years  later,  and  his  successor,  James, 
the  third  Earl,  who,  though  married,  had  no  children  to  succeed  him, 
made  over  the  property  to  his  brother-in-law,  when  its  name  was  for  the 
third  time  changed,  and  it  became  known  as  Northumberland  House  till 
the  close  of  its  existence. 

In  view  of  the  pedigree  of  the  mansion  here  given,  which  is  that 
accepted  by  all  London  topographers,  it  is  a  curious  fact  that  in  the  City 
Archives  is  a  letter  from  Henry  Percy,  ninth  Earl  of  Northumberland, 
dated  February  18,  161 6,  to  the  Lord  Mayor,  in  which  the  Earl  informs 
him  that  he  has  heard  of  a  pretended  claim  made  by  the  Court  of  Alder- 
men to  a  garden  belonging  to  Northumberland  House  ;  "  which  he  had 
sold  to  Mr.  Robert  Chamberlain,"  and  stating  that  "  he,  and  those  from 
whom  he  claimed,  had  held  and  enjoyed  Northumberland  House,  with 
the  upper  and  nether  garden,  without  interruption,  for  a  hundred  years, 
at  least."  A  note  to  this  passage  in  the  Remembrancia,  states  that  "  Sion 
House,  Charing  Cross,"  had  been  granted  to  the  ninth  Earl  of  Northum- 

•  In  the  Calendar  of  State  Pape?-s,  for  March  1 5,  1617,  is  a  "  grant  to  the  Earl  of  Suffolk  to 
have  a  small  pipe  for  conveying  water  to  Suffolk  House,  inserted  in  the  main  pipe  from  Hyde 
Park  to  Westminster  Palace  "  ;  while  in  the  Remembrancia,  is  a  letter  from  Lord  Northum- 
berland, dated  March  7,  1664,  stating  that  "he  had  lately  been  deprived  of  the  conduit 
water  which  had  always  served  Northumberland  House,"  and  requesting  permission  "  for  a 
quill  of  water  from  the  City's  pipes,  which  passed  the  gates  of  his  residence." 


NORTHUMBERLAND    HOUSE  5 


^ 


berland,  by  James  I.,  in  1604.  If  this  was  the  case  it  would  appear  that 
the  Northumberland  (or  Sion)  House  here  referred  to,  was  an  altogether 
different  building  from  the  better  known  one  I  am  speaking  of,  and 
that  all  traces  of  this  residence  have  been  lost.  It  may  conceivably 
have  adjoined  Suffolk  or  Northampton  House,  and  the  fact  that  Lord 
Northumberland  had  sold  part  of  the  property  to  Mr.  Chamberlain,  may 
have  been  an  additional  reason  for  Lord  Suffolk's  making  the  latter 
mansion  over  to  him. 

The  tenth  Earl  of  Northumberland  was  the  heroic  figure,  who  fought 
during  the  Civil  Wars  for  King  Charles,  whom  Clarendon  speaks  of  "  as 
in  all  his  deportment  a  very  great  man,"  and  whose  handsome  face  and 
somewhat  sad  speculative  eyes  look  out  from  Vandyck's  famous  picture. 
Among  a  variety  of  great  offices  which  he  filled,  was,  in  1642,  that  of 
First  Commissioner  of  the  Admiralty  and  the  Cinque  Ports,  and  the 
painter  has  introduced  an  allusion  to  this  in  the  anchor  on  which  the  Earl 
rests  his  hand.^ 

Two  years  after  this  a  son  (Josceline)  was  born  to  him,  who  succeeded 
to  the  title  and  estates  on  the  death  of  his  father,  in  1668  ;  he,  however, 
died  in  Italy  two  years  later,  and  with  him  the  direct  male  line  of  the 
Percies  came  to  an  end  ;  Northumberland  House  and  the  other  properties 
of  the  family  descending  to  his  only  daughter  Elizabeth  Percy,  who  had 
been  married  when  a  mere  child  of  twelve  to  Henry  Cavendish,  Earl 
of  Ogle,  son  of  Henry,  Duke  of  Newcastle.  This  boy,  who  had  assumed 
the  arms  and  name  of  Percy,  died,  however,  in  1680,  before  he  and  his 
girl  wife  had  lived  together,  and  Lady  Elizabeth  was  then  married,  in 
1681,  to  Thomas  Thynne  of  Longleat,  the  "  Tom  of  Ten  Thousand," 
and  the  Issachar  of  Dryden's  Absalom  and  Achitophel,  who  was  murdered 
in  the  Haymarket,  on  February  12,  1682,  by  Count  Koningsmarck  who 
aspired  to  the  hand  of  the  heiress — a  brutal  deed  of  which  the  circum- 
stances are  too  well  known  to  require  recapitulation  here,  and  which  is 
recorded  on  Thynne's  monument  in  Westminster  Abbey. 

Lady  Elizabeth  had  never  lived  with  Thynne,  and  in  the  May  following 
his  murder,  was  wedded  to  Charles  Seymour,  sixth  Duke  of  Somerset,  so 
that,  as  has  been  pointed  out,  before  the  age  of  seventeen  she  was  twice  a 
virgin  widow  and  three  times  a  wife. 

The  Duke  of  Somerset,  of  whose  imperious  manner  Swift  has  left 
a  record,  was  known  as  the  proud  Duke,"  and   here   at   Northumberland 

•  Mr.  Blomfield,  in  his  Renaissance  Architecture  in  England,  reminds  us  that  John  Webb 
was  doing  work  for  the  tenth  Earl,  at  Northumberland  House,  in  1657-8. 

^  He  appears  to  have  met  his  match  in  at  least  two  other  members  of  the  Seymour 
family — one  a  Baronet,  and  the  other  James  Seymour,  the  painter,  of  whom  Walpole  tells 
a  well-known  anecdote.     See  Anecdotes  of  Painting. 


54    THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

House  he  and  his  Duchess  lived  in  something  approaching  regal  state, 
until  the  death  of  the  latter  in  1722.  The  Duke,  four  years  later,  married 
Lady  Charlotte  Finch,  daughter  of  the  second  Earl  of  Nottingham,  and 
died  in  1748  ;  when  he  was  succeeded  in  the  occupancy  of  Northumberland 
House  by  his  son,  the  seventh  Duke,  who  was  then  no  less  than  sixty-four 
years  of  age.  The  year  after  his  accession  he  was  created  Earl  of  Northum- 
berland, and  having  no  male  children,  the  remainder  was  made  to  Sir 
Hugh  Smithson,  who  had  married  the  Earl's  only  daughter,  and  who 
was,  in  1766,  raised  to  the  Dukedom. 

As  we  have  seen,  the  garden  front  of  Northumberland  House  had 
been  added  by  the  first  Earl  of  Suffolk ;  it  was,  however,  rebuilt  in  1642, 
by  the  tenth  Earl  of  Northumberland,  from  designs  by  Inigo  Jones.' 
Evelyn,  going  to  see  some  of  the  art  treasures  collected  here,  on  June  9, 
1658,  thus  speaks  of  them  and  incidentally  refers  to  the  new  river  front : 
"  I  went  to  see  the  Earl  of  Northumberland's  pictures,  whereof  that  of  ye 
Venetian  Senators  (the  Cornaro  Family)  was  one  of  the  best  of  Titian's, 
and  another  of  Andrea  del  Sarto,  viz.,  a  Madonna,  Christ,  St.  John,  and 
an  old  woman ;  a  St.  Catherine  of  Da  Vinci,  with  divers  portraits  of  Van 
Dyke  ;  a  nativity  of  Georgione ;  the  last  of  our  blessed  Kings  and  ye 
Duke  of  York,  by  Lely ;  a  rosarie  by  ye  famous  Jesuits  of  Bruxelles,  and 
severall  more.  This  was  in  Suffolk  House ;  ye  new  front  towards  ye 
gardens  is  tollerable,  were  it  not  drown'd  by  a  too  massie  and  clumsie  pair 
of  stayres  of  stone,  without  any  neat  invention." 

The  addition  made  to  the  house  by  the  tenth  Earl  anticipated  the 
various  improvements  it  underwent  at  the  hands  of  successive  owners  of 
the  property.  Thus  the  Duke  of  Somerset  formed  a  gallery,  to  which  Hugh 
Smithson,  first  Duke  of  that  line,  added,  besides  facing  the  quadrangle 
with  stone  ;  these  latter  improvements  were  carried  out  under  the  direction 
of  Mylne,  the  architect,  who  also  added  the  pavilion,  in  1765  ;  indeed  so 
many  alterations  were  made  to  the  house,  particularly  about  1748  to  1752, 
that  much  of  its  original  character  was  even  then  lost,  and  the  fire  which 
took  place  here  in  1780,  wholly  destroyed  the  Charing  Cross  front; 
whereupon  Daniel  Garrett  completed  the  work  of  restoration  by  re- 
building this  portion  of  the  palace. 

According  to  a  contemporary  account,  the  fire  "  broke  out  about  five 
in  the  morning,  and  raged  till  eight,  in  which  time  it  burnt  from  the  east 
end,  where  it  began,  to  the  west.  Among  the  apartments  consumed  were 
those  of  Dr.  Percy,  Dean  of  Carlisle  .  .  .  the  greatest  part  of  whose 
valuable  Library  was,  however,  fortunately  saved." 

On   the   rebuilt  fa9ade  which  so  many  of  us  remember,  the   famous 

•  There  is  a  view  of  this  by  Wale  in  Dodsley's  London. 


NORTHUMBERLAND    HOUSE  55 

leaden  lion  designed  by  Carter/  which  had  stood,  from  1752,  on  the 
earlier  front,  was  replaced  in  its  former  position.  In  1774  a  further 
addition  was  made  to  the  house  by  the  erection  of  the  ball-room,  from 
the  designs  of  Robert  Adair,  the  interior  of  which  resembled  one  of  those 
magnificent  apartments  which  are  the  glory  of  Italian  palaces.  Its 
walls  were  covered  with  large  canvases,  among  which  were  Mengs'  copies 
of  Raphael's  "School  of  Athens,"  "The  Assembly  of  the  Gods,"  and 
"  The  Marriage  of  Cupid  and  Psyche,"  in  the  Farnesina,  and  Caracci's 
*'  Triumph  of  Bacchus  and  Ariadne  "  ;  its  decorations  were  elaborate  with 
massive  carvings  and  gildings,  and  into  its  beautifully  sculptured  over- 
mantle  was  let  a  portrait  of  the  Duke.  In  the  deep  window  recesses 
stood  costly  works  of  art,  noticeable  among  them  being  the  famous  S6vres 
vase  now  at  Sion. 

Hardly  less  splendid  was  the  drawing-room,  with  its  gorgeously 
painted  ceiling,  its  medallions  being  from  the  brush  of  Angelica  Kauffmann, 
its  immense  mirrors,  and  the  great  crystal  chandelier  that  helped  to  light 
up  a  thousand  objects  of  beauty  and  artistic  taste. 

A  writer  in  Old  and  New  London,  who  probably  had  an  opportunity 
of  seeing  the  interior  for  himself,  has  left  the  following  account  of  it : 
"The  vestibule  of  the  interior  was  82  feet  long,  ornamented  with  Doric 
columns.  Each  end  communicated  with  a  staircase,  leading  to  the 
principal  apartments  facing  the  garden  and  the  Thames.  They  consisted 
of  several  spacious  rooms  fitted  up  in  the  most  elegant  manner,  em- 
bellished with  paintings,  among  which  might  be  found  the  well-known 
'  Cornaro  Family  '  by  Titian  .  .  .  for  which  Algernon,  Earl  of  Northum- 
berland, is  stated  to  have  given  Vandyck  1000  guineas,  and  a  beautiful 
vase;  'St.  Sebastian,' by  Guercino  ;  'The  Adoration  of  the  Shepherds,' 
by  Bassano,  and  others  by  well-known  masters,  &c.  The  grand  staircase 
consisted  of  a  single  flight  of  thirteen  moulded  vein  marble  steps,  and  two 
flights  of  sixteen  steps  with  a  centre  landing  22  feet  by  6  feet,  two 
circular  plinths,  and  a  handsome  and  richly  gilt  ormolu  scroll  balustrade, 
with  moulded  Spanish  mahogany  hand-rails." 

Although  this  is  rather  like  the  description  in  a  sale  particular,  it  is  not 
uninteresting,  as  giving  some  idea  of  what  the  interior  of  this  great  house 
was  like,  although  the  account  hardly  does  justice  to  the  magnificence  of 
the  staircase  as  it  appears  from  contemporary  sketches.- 

Among  other  interesting  objects  that  once  graced  the  rooms  was  the 

'  Taylor,  in  his  Fitie  Ar/s,  says  "  Laurent  Delvaux,  who  worked  with  Bird  and  Scheetnaker, 
designed  the  Lion." 

"-  Macky,  in  \\\i  Journey  through  England,  pubhshed  in  1714,  says  of  Northumberland 
House  :  "  It's  a  noble  square  court  with  a  garden  running  down  to  the  riverside  ;  the  Front  to 
the  Street  is  Princely,  and  the  apartments  answer  his  (the  Duke's)  grandeur." 


56     THE  PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

tapestry,  designed  by  Zuccarelli,  and  worked  in  Soho  Square,  in  1758; 
the  two  cabinets  of  marbles  and  gems,  once  the  property  of  Louis  XIV., 
and  the  Sevres  vase,  mentioned  before  and  now  at  Sion,  painted  with  a 
design  of  Diana  and  her  nymphs  disarming  Cupid,  and  presented  to  the 
second  Duke  when  he  was  Ambassador  at  Paris,  by  Charles  X. 

Apart  from  the  great  entertainments  held  at  various  times  in  this  veri- 
table palace — one  of  which,  given  in  honour  of  Queen  Charlotte's  brother, 
in  1762,  is  described  by  Walpole  as  "a  pompous  festino,"  when  "  not  only 
the  whole  house,  but  the  garden,  was  illuminated,  and  was  quite  a  fairy 
scene,"  and  "arches  and  pyramids  of  light  alternately  surrounded  the 
enclosure  " — one  or  two  events  of  more  general  interest  have  taken  place 
here.  Thus  it  was  thither,  in  the  spring  of  1660,  that,  according  to 
Clarendon,  General  Monk  was  invited,  with  the  Earl  of  Manchester, 
Hollis,  Sir  William  Waller,  &c.,  by  Earl  Algernon,^  and  here  in  secret 
conference  with  them  some  of  those  measures  were  concerted  which  led 
to  the  speedy  restoration  of  the  monarchy.  Here,  Oliver  Goldsmith  once 
waited  on  the  Duke,  and  mistook  one  of  his  gorgeously  attired  menials 
for  the  great  man  himself;  here,  on  another  occasion,  through  his  friend 
Dr.  Percy,  he  had  an  interview  with  his  Grace,  then  just  going  as  Lord- 
Lieutenant  into  Ireland,  and  who  asking  the  poet  what  he  could  do  for  him, 
received  the  answer  that  he  (Goldsmith)  "  had  a  brother  there  a  clergy- 
man that  stood  in  need  of  help,  but  that  for  himself  he  required  nothing  "  ; 
much  to  the  astonishment  of  Sir  John  Hawkins,  who  tells  the  story,  and 
calls  Goldsmith  an  idiot  for  thus  trifling  with  his  fortunes.  And  from 
here,  on  one  occasion,  in  1762,  Horace  Walpole  set  out  with  Lady  Nor- 
thumberland, the  Duke  of  York,  Lady  Mary  Coke,  and  Lord  Hertford, 
all  in  one  hackney-coach,  "  to  hear  the  mysterious  rappings  of  the  Cock 
Lane  ghost "  ;  while  at  least  two  great  funeral  processions  have  started 
from  this  house  :  the  first  being  that  of  the  third  Duke,  who  was  buried 
at  Westminster  in  February  1847,  when  the  pageant  reached  from 
Northumberland  House  to  the  west  door  of  the  Abbey  ;  and  the  other 
that  of  the  fourth  Duke  (in  February  1865),  who  was  buried  with  similar 
pomp  and  circumstance. 

Northumberland  House,  as  a  victim  doomed  to  destruction,  seems  to 
have  been  regarded  with  envious  eyes  for  many  years.  In  1845,  when  the 
Railway  mania  was  at  its  height,  a  report  was  circulated  that  the  stately 
pile  was  to  be  bought  en  bloc  by  the  South- Western  Railway  ;  while  in 
1866,  the  Metropolitan  Board  of  Works  did  endeavour  to  persuade 
the  then  Duke  to  sell,  but  without  success.      Six  years  later,   however, 

^  The  custody  of  the  Royal  children  had  been  committed  to  him,  whence  their  sojourn  at 
Sion. 


NORTHUMBERLAND    HOUSE  57 

terms  were  come  to ;  when  the  house  and  its  grounds  were  sold  for 
£500,000,  and  powers  to  form  a  street,  &c.,  on  its  site  obtained.  In 
1874  the  transaction  was  completed,  and  the  materials  of  the  fabric  were 
subsequently  sold  by  auction  ;  ^  the  great  staircase  being  given  away  for 
^{[360,  and  the  rest  of  the  building  materials  fetching  something  over 
;r6ooo. 

The  contents — pictures,  and  furniture,  and  china — ^were  dispersed  be- 
tween Alnwick,  Sion,  and  the  Duke's  new  house  in  Grosvenor  Place  ;  and 
thus  "  this  great  historical  house,  commenced  by  a  Howard,  continued  by  a 
Percy,  and  completed  by  a  Seymour  " — which  had  been  the  residence  for 
two  and  a  half  centuries  of  some  of  the  greatest  families  in  the  land,  and 
which  was,  besides,  the  sole  survivor  of  those  Strand  Palaces  whose  fortunes 
we  have  been  following — was  demolished  to  make  way  for  the  thorough- 
fare known  as  Northumberland  Avenue  leading  to  the  Embankment. 
Apparently  building  speculation  saw  in  this  a  splendid  opportunity  for 
making  money,  as  the  big  hotels  which  have  sprung  up  on  its  site  have 
shown  to  be  the  case,  otherwise  the  removal  of  some  of  the  houses  and 
shops  on  the  west  of  Northumberland  House,  and  the  acquisition  of  a 
portion  of  its  gardens  would  have  probably  proved  equally  suitable  to 
whatever  public  requirements  could  demand.  For  this  reason  the  de- 
struction of  this  splendid  palace  was  one  of  the  most  regrettable  of 
those  acts  of  vandalism  which  the  benighted  period  of  the  early  seventies 
witnessed.'^ 

•  Among  them  must  have  been  the  decorative  work  which  Adam  designed,  such  as  the 
slab  for  the  drawing-room  fireplace,  a  drawing  of  which  preserved  in  the  Soane  Museum  is 
dated  July  9,  1774,  and  the  wonderful  decorations  of  the  drawing-room,  the  colour  scheme 
of  which  was  in  red  and  green.  In  the  Soane  Museum  is  also  a  coloured  drawing  for  a  circular 
table-top  designed  by  Adam,  for  the  Duke. 

^  In  Smith's  Antiquities  of  Westminster  is  an  illustration  of  the  fagade  of  Northumberland 
House,  and  there  are  other  innumerable  views  of  the  great  house  extant. 


CHAPTER    III 

BURLINGTON    HOUSE   AND    OTHERS 

IN  this  chapter  I  want  to  say  something  about  five  great  houses  which 
once  proudly  reared  their  heads  in  the  West  End,  as  we  have  seen  so 
many  do  in  the  East  and  in  that  part  of  the  town  which  once  partook 
of  something  of  the  attributes  of  both — the  Strand. 
Of  these  palaces,  two,  Burlington  House  and  Clarendon  House,  stood 
in  Piccadilly,  and  the  name  of  the  former  is  perpetuated  in  the  Burling- 
ton House  of  our  own  day  ;  a  third  occupied  the  site  of  the  present 
Buckingham  Palace  ;  ^  while  two  more  were  once  the  glory  of  Blooms- 
bury — Southampton  or  Bedford  House,  and  Montagu  House,  where  the 
British  Museum,  which  stands  on  its  exact  site,  now  spreads  its  ample 
proportions. 

There  are,  I  am  aware,  several  others  that  might  by  a  little  extension 
of  the  word  be  included  among  the  past  private  palaces  of  the  West 
End  ;  but  I  am  unwilling  to  make  this  extension,  because,  in  the  first 
place,  we  shall  have  quite  enough  to  do  to  examine  those  I  have  selected  ; 
and  again  because  directly  one  begins  to  enlarge  ones  boundaries,  as  it 
were,  it  becomes  proportionately  difBcult  to  discriminate  between  the 
relative  merits  of  the  many  houses  that  would  necessarily  have  some 
individual  claims  to  be  included. 

BURLINGTON  HOUSE 

I  will  begin  with  Burlington  House,  which,  like  so  many  other  great 
mansions,  did  not  spring  into  existence  in  the  completed  form  known  to 
us  by  the  later  engravings  of  it  which  exist,  but  was  the  result  of  building 
evolution  ;  in  any  case,  however,  the  original  structure  was  sufficiently 
imposing,  as  Kip's  excellent  view  of  it  attests. 

The    ground    on   which   it   was   erected   was,    at   the   period   of  the 

'  I  do  not  forget  that  Kensington  Palace  was  formerly  a  private  possession,  but  when  it 
belonged  to  the  Finches  it  was  but  ''  a  neat  villa,"  according  to  Evelyn,  and  its  chief  interest  is 
so  largely  connected  with  it  as  a  Royal  palace,  that  I  do  not  include  it  for  these  reasons. 

S8 


■%,■_ — 77~ — :~':-:^jS^Kg«im rm' 


I    li 


V 


'II 


BURLINGTON    HOUSE  59 

Restoration,  open  country  ;  but  a  few  years  later  three  stately  residences 
arose  in  this  locaHty  :  Berkeley,  Clarendon,  and  Burlington  Houses. 

There  is  some  question  as  to  who  built  and  first  occupied  the  original 
house,  for  although  Lord  Burlington  was  inhabiting  it  in  1668,  there 
is  reason  to  believe  that  he  had  been  preceded  in  its  occupancy  by  that 
Sir  John  Denham  whose  name  is  kept  alive  by  his  poem  of  "  Cooper's 
Hill,"  and  whose  fame  rests  on  the  two  famous  lines  on  the  Thames  which 
are  to  be  found  in  it.  Pepys,  writing  on  February  20,  1665,  speaks  of 
riding  to  see  the  building  operations  of  Clarendon  House,  and  mentions 
that  Denham  was  beginning  a  house  on  its  east  side  ;  while,  on  Sep- 
tember 28,  1668,  he  records  visiting  "  my  Lord  Burlington's  house,  the 
first  time  I  was  ever  there,  it  being  the  house  built  by  Sir  John  Denham, 
next  to  Clarendon  House." 

Denham  was,  as  we  know.  Surveyor  to  the  King,  and  it  is  probable 
that  he  designed  the  house,  with  the  help  of  John  Webb,  the  pupil  of 
Inigo  Jones,  not  for  himself  but  for  Lord  Burlington.  Denham's  share 
in  its  construction  was,  I  expect,  small  enough,  for  Evelyn  remarks  on 
one  occasion  that  he  knew  Sir  John  to  be  a  better  poet  than  architect, 
and  it  is  likely  that  Webb  was  the  ghost  that  provided  the  designs. 

It  has,  indeed,  been  suggested  that  as  about  this  time  Denham  was 
on  the  eve  of  his  marriage  with  the  lovely  Margaret  Brook,  who  soon 
after  became  the  Duke  of  York's  mistress  and  died  mysteriously  of  poison 
the  following  year,^  he  prepared  this  house  for  her  reception  ;  but  in 
those  days  even  poets  filling  public  offices  were  hardly  in  a  position  to 
stand  such  an  expense  as  must  have  been  entailed  by  so  magnificent  a 
building  as  Burlington  House,  and  I  think  it  much  more  probable  that 
Sir  John  was  the  nominal,  John  Webb  the  real,  architect,  and  that  the 
work  was  undertaken  for  Richard  Boyle,  who  had  been  created  Earl  of 
Burlington  in  1644. 

Lord  Burlington's  fame  has  been  somewhat  eclipsed  by  that  of  his 
father,  the  great  Earl  of  Cork,  and  of  his  brother,  the  famous  Robert 
Boyle,  but  he  filled  a  number  of  important  offices,  under  Charles  H., 
and  had,  in  1642,  been  made  Commander  of  the  Forces  in  Ireland  ;  while 
his  Earldom  was  the  reward  of  his  share  in  bringing  about  the  Restora- 
tion. He  married,  in  1635,  Lady  Elizabeth  CHfford,  only  daughter  and 
heiress  of  Henry,  fifth  Earl  of  Cumberland,  and  died  in  1698,  having 
occupied  Burlington  House  for  some  thirty  years  as  a  town  residence. 
According  to  Walpole,  when  asked  why  he  had  erected  the  house  so  far 
out  of  town,  he  replied  that  he  was  determined  to  have  no  building 

'  It  was  reported  that  Denham  was  responsible  for  her  "  taking  off,"  and  Anthony  Hamilton 
specifically  accuses  him  of  the  crime  ;  in  any  case  Sir  John  himself  died  mad,  in  1668. 


6o    THE    PRIVATE    PALACES    OF    LONDON 

beyond  him  ;  he  meant,  on  the  north,  for  of  course  Berkeley  House 
was  on  his  west.  The  point  of  his  remark  is  obvious  enough,  when  we 
examine  Kip's  view  of  BurHngton  House  taken  about  the  beginning  of 
the  eighteenth  century  ;  for  by  it  we  see  that  its  large  gardens  extend 
north  to  open  fields,  then  known  as  Conduit  Mead,  whereas  on  its  east 
are  a  number  of  houses,  and  the  spot  Lord  Burlington  chose  was  just  to 
the  west  of  these,  which  enabled  him  to  enjoy  an  uninterrupted  prospect 
to  the  north.  Lord  Burlington  was  succeeded  by  his  grandson,  Charles 
Boyle,  who  died  young,  only  having  enjoyed  the  title  six  years,  when, 
in  1704,  his  son  Richard,  then  not  quite  nine  years  old,  succeeded  him 
as  third  Earl.  It  is  with  this  peer  that  the  house  is  chiefly  identified, 
and  it  is  to  him  the  mind  turns  when  the  title  of  Burlington  occurs ; 
for  not  only  was  he  a  man  of  singular  taste  and  refinement,  but  he  was 
also  one  who  had  he  not  been  an  Earl  would  have  been  known  as  a 
great  architect.  As  it  is,  his  fame  as  the  latter  is  sufficiently  established 
to  enable  him  to  take  a  high  place  among  the  amateur  architects  of  this 
country. 

One  of  the  earliest  of  those  who  brought  back  from  the  Grand  Tour 
something  more  than  a  mere  confused  remembrance  of  foreign  towns 
and  strange  manners.  Lord  Burlington  was  possessed  of  a  mind  of  singular 
receptivity,  and  the  architectural  beauties  he  had  seen  and  carefully 
studied  in  Italy,  fired  him  with  the  desire  of  emulating  on  the  banks 
of  the  Thames  what  had  excited  his  admiration  on  the  banks  of  the 
Tiber.  Nor  had  his  travels  resulted  in  awakening  merely  admiration  ; 
he  set  himself  to  learn  the  elements  of  the  art  which  had  fascinated  him, 
and  his  house  at  Chiswick,  General  Wade's  mansion  in  Cork  Street, 
Lord  Harrington's  so-called  villa  at  Petersham,  and  the  splendid  ball- 
room in  Lord  Cowper's  house  in  St.  James's  Square,  are  a  few  of  the 
results  of  his  assiduous  application  and  natural  gifts. 

Nor  were  his  interests  confined  to  this  art  :  men  of  letters  found 
in  him  as  open-handed  a  patron  as  did  architects  and  artists  ;  and  if 
he  lodged  Kent  in  Burlington  House  and  patronised  Colin  Campbell, 
he  was  as  generous  and  friendly  to  Pope  and  Gay,  Arbuthnot  and  Swift. 

Walpole  in  speaking  of  the  architects  of  the  reign  of  George  II.  thus 
mentions  Lord  Burlington  :  "  Never  was  protection  and  great  wealth 
more  generously  and  more  judiciously  diffused  than  by  this  great  person, 
who  had  every  quality  of  a  genius  and  artist,  except  envy.  Though 
his  own  designs  were  more  classic  than  Kent's,^  he  entertained  him  in 
his  house  till  his  death,  and  was  more  studious  to  extend  his  friend's 
fame  than  his  own.     Nor  was  his  munificence  confined  to  himself  and 

'  "  For  Burlington  unbiassed  knows  thy  worth,"  writes  Gay,  addressing  Kent. 


BURLINGTON    HOUSE  6i 

his  own  houses  and  gardens.  He  spent  immense  sums  in  contributing 
to  public  works,  and  was  known  to  choose  that  the  expense  should  fall 
on  himself  rather  than  that  his  country  should  be  deprived  of  some 
beautiful  edifices.  His  enthusiasm  for  Inigo  Jones  was  so  active,  that 
he  repaired  the  church  of  Covent  Garden  because  it  was  the  production 
of  that  great  master,  and  purchased  a  gateway^  at  Beaufort  Garden  in 
Chelsea,  and  transported  the  identical  stones  to  Chiswick  with  religious 
attachment.  With  the  same  zeal  for  pure  architecture  he  assisted  Kent 
in  publishing  the  designs  for  Whitehall,  and  gave  a  beautiful  edition  of 
the  antique  baths  from  the  drawings  of  Palladio,  whose  papers  he  pur- 
chased with  great  cost." 

It  is  a  fropos  of  this  publication  that  Pope  in  his  epistle  "  Of  the  Use 
of  Riches,"  addressed  to  Lord  Burlington,  says  : 

"  You  show  us  Rome  was  glorious,  not  profuse, 
And  pompous  buildings  once  were  things  of  use," 

while  Gay  was  not  behind  his  brother  poet  in  hymning  the  praises  of 
a  patron  whom  they  both  could  flatter  with  truth  : 

"  While  you,  my  Lord,  bid  stately  piles  ascend  " 

he  apostrophises  him  in  his  "  Epistle  to  the  Earl  of  Burlington." 

Such  was  the  man  who  now  set  about  to  reconstruct  the  fine  house 
which  his  great-grandfather  had  built.  He  associated  with  himself, 
in  the  work,  Colin  Campbell,  a  well-known  architect  of  the  day,  who 
filled  the  post  of  Surveyor  of  the  Works  at  Greenwich  Hospital,  and 
had  designed  Wanstead  and  Mereworth.  The  Earl's  scheme  did  not 
include  the  demolition  of  the  earlier  house,  which  was  of  red  brick,  but 
its  incasing  with  stone,  and  the  conversion  of  the  bedrooms  of  the  first 
floor  into  State  rooms,  by  the  expedient  of  increasing  their  height  ;  the 
model  he  evidently  took  for  the  work  being  the  Palazzo  Porto  at  Vicenza 
which  had  been  designed  by  Palladio. 

It  would  have  been  difficult  to  allot  the  share  which  the  Earl  and 
his  architect  respectively  had  in  this  reconstruction  had  not  the  latter 
specifically  indicated  the  portions  for  which  he  was  alone  responsible, 
in  his  Vitruvius  Britannicus  published  in  1725,  while  Lord  Burlington 
was  yet  living.  By  this  we  see  that  Campbell  designed  the  general  plan 
of  the  house,  but  not  the  stables,  which  he  says  "  were  built  by  another 
architect  '    before   I  had  the  honour  of  being  called  to  his  Lordship's 

^  That  now  in  front  of  Devonshire  House. 

'  Who  this  was  is  not  clear,  but  Mr.  .Spiers  in  his  interesting  article  on  Burlington  House  in 
the  Architectural  Review,  for  October  1904,  thinks  it  probable  that  it  was  Giacomo  Leoni,  who 
was  brought  to  this  country  by  Lord  Burlington  previous  to  1715. 


62     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

service,"  and  he  adds,  "  the  front  of  the  house,  the  conjunction  from 
thence  to  the  offices,  the  great  gate  and  street  wall  were  all  designed  and 
executed  by  me."  ^ 

Fault  has  been  found  with  this  wall,  which,  considering  that  it  was 
merely  a  wall,  could  hardly  have  been  more  decorative,  by  Malcolm, 
and  even  he  seems  rather  to  have  objected  to  it  as  hiding  the  mansion 
than  from  any  intrinsic  deficiencies  in  its  design  ;  but  Ralph,"  who  is 
in  general  hypercritical  about  the  architecture  of  London  in  his  day, 
speaks  of  "  the  most  expensive  wall  in  England,"  as  he  calls  it,  in  a  flatter- 
ing manner,  and  remarks  that  "  nothing  material  can  be  objected  to 
it,  and  much  may  be  said  in  its  praise.  It  is  certain  the  height  is  wonder- 
fully well  proportioned  to  the  length,  and  the  decorations  are  both  simple 
and  magnificent." 

But  if  there  was  any  difference  of  opinion  about  this  part  of  the 
scheme,  there  seems  to  have  been  a  perfect  consensus  of  praise  bestowed 
on  the  beautiful  colonnade  which  Walpole,  on  the  grounds  that  Campbell 
lays  no  claim  to  its  design,  which  he  certainly  might  be  thought  to  have 
done  had  he  had  anything  to  do  with  its  invention,  attributes  to  Lord 
Burlington  himself.  Chambers  considers  this  "  one  of  the  finest  pieces 
of  architecture  in  Europe,"  which  is  perhaps  rather  hyperbolic,  but 
there  is  no  doubt  that  it  formed  one  of  the  chief  beauties  of  the  new 
mansion,  and  it  is  a  pity  that  it  was  ever  removed.  As  Mr.  Spiers  says, 
it  is  not  improbable  that  Bernini's  famous  colonnade  in  front  of  St. 
Peter's  at  Rome  may  have  suggested  the  idea  to  Lord  Burhngton  of 
forming  the  approach  to  his  mansion  on  a  similar  but  of  course  much 
smaller  scale  ;  and  as  to  who  was  actually  responsible  for  this  fine  piece 
of  work,  the  same  authority  makes  the  suggestion  that  the  original  idea 
was  due  to  Lord  Burhngton,  who,  however,  not  being  a  draughtsman 
himself,  may  have  instructed  Leoni  to  draw  out  plans  and  elevations 
which  when  complete  were  probably  handed  to  Colin  Campbell  "  to 
work  out  in  harmony  with  the  great  gate  which  he  had  designed.  Colin 
Campbell  therefore  probably  set  out  the  whole  of  the  work  and  super- 
intended its  erection,  but  he  refrained  from  claiming  it  as  his  own  for 
the  reasons  just  stated."  ^ 

As  is  the  case  when  any  new  building  arises,  particularly  if  it  be  in 
advance  of  the  times,   much  criticism  was  expended  over  the  splendid 

•  In  Campbell's  publication  are  given  illustrations  of  the  facade,  the  gateway  into 
Piccadilly,  and  the  ground  plan  of  the  house. 

-  Critical  Survey  of  Public  Buildings,  1728,  pp.  23-4. 

^  Mr.  Spiers's  learned  and  valuable  article,  in  which  technical  detail  is  set  forth  in  a  most 
interesting  manner,  is  illustrated  by  a  number  of  elevations,  plans,  and  pictures  of  the  interior  of 
the  mansion,  including  the  great  gate  and  the  colonnade. 


BURLINGTON    HOUSE  63 

structure,  and  even  the  great  name  of  Hogarth  has  to  be  included  among 
its  detractors,  for,  in  1724,  he  produced  a  plate  called  "The  Taste  of 
the  Town,"  in  which  he  pictorially  attacked  Lord  Burlington  and  those 
who  assisted  him  in  the  designs  ;  Kent  and  Campbell  being  introduced, 
as  well  as  Lord  Burlington  himself,  into  the  drawing  ;  ^  while  an  epigram 
supposed  to  have  been  written  either  by  Lord  Chesterfield  or  Lord 
Hervey  runs  : 

"  Possess'd  of  one  great  hall  for  state, 
Without  a  room  to  sleep  or  eat ; 
How  well  you  build  let  flattery  tell. 
And  all  the  world  how  ill  you  dwell."  ^ 

But  Lord  Burlington  had  not  much  cause  to  be  irritated  at  such 
mild  censure,  when  so  much  praise  was  continually  being  poured  forth 
over  his  work.     Pope  asks 

"Who  plants  like  Bathurst  and  who  builds  like  Boyle  ?" 

and  Gay,  in  his  "  Trivia,"  has  these  lines,  in  which,  after  bemoaning  the 
loss  of  the  great  houses  in  the  Strand,  he  says  : 

"  Yet  Burlington's  fair  palace  still  remains  ; 
Beauty  within,  without  proportion  reigns. 
There  oft  I  enter  (but  with  cleaner  shoes), 
For  Burlington's  beloved  by  ev'ry  Muse  "  ; 

and  in  his  "  Epistle  to  Paul  Methuen,"  he  cries  : 

"  While  Burlington's  proportion'd  column  rise, 
Does  not  he  stand  the  gaze  of  envious  eyes  ? 
Doors,  windows,  are  condemned  by  passing  fools, 
Who  know  not  that  they  damn  Palladio's  rules." 

And,  to  give  one  more  example,  here  is  Walpole's  criticism  on  the  famous 
colonnade  :  "  As  we  have  few  samples  of  architecture  more  antique  and 
imposing  than  that  colonnade,  I  cannot  help  mentioning  the  effect  it 
had  on  myself.  I  had  not  only  never  seen  it,  but  had  never  heard  of 
it,  at  least  with  any  attention,  when  soon  after  my  return  from  Italy, 
I  was  invited  to  a  ball  at  Burlington  House.     As  I  passed  under  the  gate 

'  It  was  afterwards  called  "  Masquerades  and  Operas,  Burlington  Gate,"  and  is  known  as 
"  the  small  masquerade  ticket."  Mr.  Wheatley  draws  attention  to  the  prophetic  labelling  of  the 
front  gate,  "Academy  of  Arts." 

^  It  was  certainly  Hervey  who  said  of  Lord  Burlington's  house  at  Chiswick  that  "  it  was  too 
small  to  live  in,  and  too  large  to  hang  to  one's  watch-chain." 


64     THE  PRIVATE  PALACES  OF   LONDON 

by  night,  it  could  not  strike  me.  At  daybreak  looking  out  of  the  window 
to  see  the  sun  rise,  I  was  surprised  with  the  vision  of  the  colonnade  that 
fronted  me.  It  seemed  one  of  those  edifices  in  fairy  tales  that  are  raised 
by  genii  in  a  night's  time."  ^ 

There  is  no  doubt  that  whoever  wrote  the  epigram  I  have  before 
quoted,  had  some  reason  for  suggesting  that  everything  had  been  sacrificed 
to  the  reception-rooms,  for  the  upper  chambers  and  those  on  the  ground 
floor  were  small  and  not  very  convenient,  but  this  was  so  characteristic 
of  the  period  that  one  wonders  so  much  was  made  of  it ;  certainly  Lord 
Chesterfield  did  better  when  he  built  his  fine  house,  which  may  be  a 
reason  for  attributing  the  lines,  quoted  above,  to  him  ;  but  the  reception- 
rooms  were  as  splendid  in  proportion  as  they  were  magnificent  in  decora- 
tion ;  the  richness  of  the  gilding  was  enhanced  by  the  deep  tones  of 
the  solid  mahogany  doors  and  the  graceful  modelling  of  the  marble 
chimneypieces.  The  ceilings  and  even  some  of  the  walls  were  beauti- 
fied by  the  paintings  of  Marco  Ricci  and  Sebastian  Ricci,  the  former 
being  responsible  for  the  architectural  portions  and  the  backgrounds,  and 
the  latter  introducing  the  figures,  as  well  as  by  the  work  of  Sir  James 
Thornhill,  who  if  he,  as  is  affirmed,  really  prompted  Hogarth  to  produce 
his  depreciation  of  the  exterior  of  the  house,  made  a  shabby  return  for 
the  Earl's  patronage. 

During  Lord  Burlington's  life,  the  great  mansion  in  Piccadilly  seems 
to  have  been  a  sort  of  open  house  for  the  genius  and  talent  of  the  time.^ 
Pope  and  Gay,  as  we  have  seen,  were  perpetual  visitors,  so  was  the 
redoubtable  Dean  of  St.  Patrick's,  and  a  not  very  pleasant,  but  I  am 
bound  to  say  highly  characteristic,  story  is  told  of  one  of  his  visits  here 
when  he  first  met  the  Countess.*  Here  it  is,  as  given  on  the  authority 
of  Mrs.  Pilkington  in  her  Memoirs.  "  Being  in  London,  Swift  went  to 
dine  with  the  newly  married  Earl  of  Burlington,  who  neither  introduced 
his  wife  nor  mentioned  her  name,  willing,  it  is  supposed,  to  have  some 
diversion.  After  dinner  the  Dean  said,  '  Lady  Burlington,  I  hear  you 
can  sing  :  sing  me  a  song.'  The  lady  thought  this  very  unceremonious 
and  refused,  when  Swift  said  she  should  sing  or  he  would  make  her. 
'  Why,  madam,  I  suppose  you  take  me  for  one  of  your  poor  hedge 
parsons  ;  sing  when  I  bid  you.'  The  Earl  laughed  at  this  freedom, 
but  the  lady  was  so  vexed  that  she  burst  into  tears  and  retired.     Swift's 

*  Anecdotes  of  Painting. 

-  Among  the  pictures  formerly  hanging  here,  Walpole  mentions  a  portrait  of  Rousseau  the 
painter  by  Le  Fevre,  as  well  as  a  prospect  of  London  before  the  Fire  showing  the  great  houses 
in  the  Strand,  by  Thomas  Van  Wyck,  and  a  view  of  the  parade  in  St.  James's  Park,  with 
Charles  and  his  courtiers  and  women  in  masks  walking. 

^  She  was  Lady  Dorothy  Saville,  daughter  and  heiress  of  William,  Marquis  of  Halifax,  and 
had  married  Lord  Burlington  in  1721. 


BURLINGTON  HOUSE  65 

first  words  on  seeing  her  again  were,  '  Pray,  madam,  are  you  as  proud 
and  ill-natured  now  as  when  I  saw  you  last  ? '  To  which  she  answered 
with  great  good-humour,  '  No,  Mr.  Dean,  I  will  sing  to  you,  if  you 
please.'  From  this  time  Swift  conceived  a  great  esteem  for  the  lady." 
One's  power  of  criticism  is  paralysed  at  such  conduct,  and  one  hardly 
knows  which  to  wonder  at  most,  the  Earl's  indifferent  attitude  or  the 
extraordinarily  forgiving  spirit  of  his  Countess.  Swift's  brutality  is  too 
well  known  to  excite  particular  comment. 

It  is  pleasant  to  think  that  not  many  such  characters  had  the  run 
of  Burlington  House.  The  great  Handel  was  an  honoured  guest,  and 
occupied  apartments  here  from  1715  till  1718,  during  which  time  he 
composed  his  operas  of  Amadis,  Theseus,  and  Pastor  Fido,  and  here  he 
frequently  met  Dr.  Arbuthnot  who,  himself,  had  studied  music  as  well 
as  most  other  things. 

Later,  Faustina,  the  singer,  during  the  time  of  her  great  feud  with 
Cuzzoni,  must  frequently  have  been  here,  for  Lady  Burlington  was 
the  chief  of  her  partisans,  as  Lady  Pembroke  was  of  those  of  her  rival  ; 
and,  in  1744,  when  the  celebrated  dancer  Violette,  who  became  after- 
wards Mrs.  Garrick,  came  to  this  country,  she  was  included  among  the 
Earl's  "  family,"  and  resided,  at,  I  hasten  to  say,  the  Countess's  invita- 
tion, in  Burlington  House  ;  Kent,  who  was  also  an  inmate  of  the  mansion, 
designed  the  tickets  for  Violette's  benefit ;  and  on  her  marriage  with 
the  great  actor.  Lady  Burlington  gave  her  a  splendid  dowry. 

Lord  Burlington  died  in  1753,^  without  an  heir,  and  the  property 
then  passed  to  Lord  Hartington,  who  became  fourth  Duke  of  Devonshire, 
and  who  had  married,  in  1748,  Lady  Charlotte  Boyle,  Lord  Burlington's 
daughter. 

A  later  resident  here  was  the  third  Duke  of  Portland,  who  had  married 
Lady  Dorothy  Cavendish,  daughter  of  the  above-mentioned  Duke  of 
Devonshire,  and  when  the  Duke  of  Portland  became  First  Lord  of  the 
Treasury,  in  1783,  under  the  auspices  of  Charles  James  Fox,  Burlington 
House  was  the  chief  meeting-place  of  the  party,  as  Devonshire  House 
became  later.  In  1807,  during  the  Duke's  second  administration,  after 
the  fusion  of  the  Whigs  with  Pitt,  it  occupied  a  like  position,  except 
that  Tories  reigned  where  Whigs  had  reigned  before. 

The  Duke  of  Portland  died  in  1809,  and  six  years  later,  the  sixth  Duke 
of  Devonshire  sold  Burlington  House  to  his  uncle  Lord  Henry  Cavendish, 
created  Earl  of  Burlington  in  1831,-  for  ^75,000. 

'  He  is  supposed  to  have  spent  such  immense  sums  on  his  buildings,  and  patronage  of  the 
fine  arts  generally  that,  in  1738,  he  is  recorded  to  have  sold  an  income  of  ^9000  for  £200,000, 
"which  won't  pay  his  debts,"  says  Barber,  writing  to  Swift. 

'  His  grandson,  who  succeeded  him  in  1834,  became  seventh  Duke  of  Devonshire  in  1858. 


66     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

On  taking  possession  its  new  owner  made  a  variety  of  alterations, 
although  not  so  many  nor  such  drastic  ones  as  had  been  anticipated, 
and  he  employed  Ware  the  Architect  to  carry  out  the  improvements. 
Among  other  things  which  Ware  effected  was  the  building  of  the  well- 
known  Burlington  Arcade,  which  was  completed  in  1819.  A  writer 
in  the  Gentleman' s  Magazine  waxed  mighty  humorous  over  the  innova- 
tion effected  by  this  Arcade  ;  but  there  is  no  doubt  it  was  the  source 
of  an  excellent  income  to  the  Cavendishes  while  they  possessed  it,  which 
was  till  the  year  1854,  when  the  sixth  Duke  of  Devonshire  sold  Burlington 
House  to  the  Government  for  ^^i 40,000.  With  this  its  interest  as  a 
private  palace  ceases,  but  it  will  be  interesting  to  rapidly  glance  at  its 
later  history. 

At  first,  indeed,  there  appears  to  have  been  no  particular  reason  for 
the  purchase  of  the  place  except  the  very  reasonable  price  at  which  it 
was  possible  to  acquire  it,  for  we  find  it  lent  to  the  University  of  London 
for  a  time,  and  later,  in  1857,  rooms  in  it  were  offered  to  various  learned 
societies  of  which  the  Royal  Society  alone  took  advantage,  although 
afterwards  others  joined  them  here,  when  the  University  of  London, 
which  still  occupies  a  portion,  was  moved  to  the  east  wing.  Many  schemes 
were  formulated  both  in  Parliament  and  by  "  the  man  in  the  street," 
as  to  the  best  mode  of  disposing  of  the  house  and  grounds.  Some  were 
for  pulling  down  the  former  ;  others  for  adding  to  it  :  but  there  seems 
to  have  been  a  general  desire  to  do  away  with  the  wall  facing  Piccadilly. 
The  public  never  has  liked  walls  ;  and  indeed  however  picturesque  they 
may  be  in  the  country,  where  many  of  those  red-brick  barriers  are  things 
of  beauty  in  themselves,  there  is  not  much  to  be  said  for  them  in  London 
except  that  they  give  an  air  of  pleasant  mystery  where  no  real  mystery 
exists.  But  this  wall  was,  as  we  have  seen,  an  exceptional  one,  yet  those 
who  advocated  its  preservation  seem  chiefly  to  have  done  so  on  the  ground 
that  were  it  demolished  the  stables  and  outbuildings  of  Burlington 
House  would  be  exposed.  In  1859,  however,  the  Government  brought 
forward  the  suggestion  that  the  Royal  Academy  should  leave  that  portion 
of  the  National  Gallery  which  it  had  hitherto  occupied  and  be  housed 
here,  and  plans  were  prepared  showing  the  various  alterations  which 
would  be  necessary  to  make  Burlington  House  a  fitting  home  for  it  ; 
the  Piccadilly  front  being  designed  by  Barry,  who  was  working  in  colla- 
boration with  Banks  on  the  rest  of  the  scheme.  A  change  of  Government 
put  the  matter  back  for  several  years,  but  in  1866,  the  scheme  was  again 
brought  forward  with  various  modifications,  by  which  the  place  was  divided 
up  between  the  University  of  London,  destined  to  occupy  the  new 
buildings  facing  Burlington  Gardens  ;   the   Royal  Academy  to  have    the 


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:d  the   1 

^:  Piccadilly  i 

mporary  writer  suggests,'  then 
has  become  it; 

,     J  _     _,     _     'it   and  Pope,    ;'. 

and  the  careless  throng  which  once  danced  in 


which 


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68     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF  LONDON 

mistake  he  had  made  in  raising  this  stately  pile,  and  he  acknowledged 
that  "  his  weakness  and  vanity  more  contributed  to  that  gust  of  envy 
that  had  so  violently  shaken  him,  than  any  misdemeanours  that  he  was 
thought  to  have  been  guilty  of." 

A  royal  grant  of  land  at  this  spot,  and  the  opportunity  of  purchasing 
a  quantity  of  stone  that  had  been  destined  for  the  repair  of  old  St.  Paul's, 
went  hand  in  hand  with  his  natural  inclinations,  and  could  hardly  be 
regarded,  as  he  suggests,  as  the  cause  of  his  building  the  palace.  Clarendon 
was  in  many  respects  a  great  man,  but  he  was  also  an  inordinately 
ambitious  one,  and  just  as  he  delighted  in  being  able  to  call  a  royal  duke 
son-in-law,  so  he  was  happy  in  the  thought  that  his  London  residence 
would  eclipse  those  of  families  in  comparison  with  which  his  own  was 
of  mushroom  growth  ;  and  then  he  possibly  felt  himself  so  secure  in 
power  and  the  favour  of  his  sovereign  that  he  was  indifferent  to  public 
opinion  and  fearlessly  gave  into  the  hands  of  his  enemies  the  petard  which 
was  to  hoist  him  :  certain  it  is  that  that  was  the  rock  on  which  he  split, 
and  the  populace  who  saw  in  it  the  result  of  political  tergiversation, 
were,  as  they  generally  are,  the  more  ready  to  accuse  him  because  of  his 
arrogance  and  ostentation,  and  when  they  called  the  place  Dunkirk  House 
or  Tangier  Hall  or  Holland  House, ^  although  they  indirectly  attacked 
his  supposed  unpatriotic  policy,  they  chiefly  aimed  their  shafts  at  his 
vainglorious  parade. 

Had  historical  truths  had  power  to  warn  him.  Clarendon  might  have 
remembered  Wolsey's  fate  and  Buckingham's  career,  but  one  seldom  feels 
so  secure  as  when  contemplating  the  adverse  fortune  of  others,  and  immemor 
sepulcri,  he  ruined  himself  in  building  a  home  in  which  he  experienced 
little  but  sorrow  and  shame. 

The  date  of  the  letters-patent  by  which  Charles  H.  granted  to 
Clarendon  the  site  on  which  Clarendon  House  was  to  rise,  is  June  13, 
1664,  and  on  that  very  day,  by  a  curious  coincidence  when  we  remember 
one  of  the  names  afterwards  applied  to  the  mansion,  Mr.  Coventry 
suggested  to  Pepys  that  he  should  write  the  History  of  the  late  Dutch 
War. 

The  tract  of  land  thus  obtained  by  Clarendon  was  a  very  large  one  ; 
indeed  it  seems  to  have  extended  from  Swallow  Street  to  a  point  down 
Piccadilly  west  of  St.  James's  Street,  probably  where  Berkeley  Street 
now  stands.^  In  any  case,  Lord  Clarendon  selected  the  spot  immediately 
facing  St.  James's  Street  for  the  erection  of  his  house,  and  building  opera- 

'  Because,  says  Burnet,  he  was  believed  to  have  received  money  from  the  Dutch  in  order  to 
heighten  his  opposition  to  the  war. 

'  The  grant  is  given  in  Lister's  Li/b  of  Clatrndon. 


CLARENDON   HOUSE  69 

tions  began  soon  after  he  had  obtained  the  grant  ;  no  less  than  three 
hundred  men  being  employed  on  it. 

Rugge,  in  his  Diurnal,  for  August  1664,  mentions  that  eight  acres  had 
then  been  enclosed  for  the  house  and  grounds,  and  in  the  pages  of  Pepys 
and  Evelyn,  we  can  follow  the  gradual  building  of  the  mansion.  Thus  on 
October  15,  1664,  Evelyn  accompanies  Lord  and  Lady  Clarendon  to 
see  the  progress  of  the  work  ;  in  the  February  of  the  following  year, 
Pepys  rides  west  to  make  himself  acquainted  with  the  new  palace  about 
which  every  one  was  talking — and  not  talking  respectfully  ;  and  he  pays 
another  visit  to  it,  on  January  31,  1666,  because  he  had  heard  so  much 
about  it  from  Evelyn  ;  "  and  indeed,"  he  adds,  "  it  is  the  finest  pile  I 
ever  did  see  in  my  life,  and  will  be  a  glorious  house."  So  impressed 
was  Samuel  with  the  place  that  we  find  him  a  fortnight  later  taking  Mr. 
Hill  to  see  it,  when  the  two  friends  managed,  with  some  difficulty,  to 
get  on  to  the  roof,  whence  was  obtained  "  the  noblest  prospect  I  ever  saw 
in  my  life,  Greenwich  being  nothing  to  it,"  says  the  diarist. 

Pepys  was  notoriously  hyperbolic  in  his  appreciation  of  what  pleased 
him,  but  there  is  no  doubt  that,  as  we  can  see  for  ourselves  from  the 
extant  prints  of  it,  the  place  must  have  been  magnificent,  and  even  the 
sober  Evelyn,  who  had  seen  the  palaces  of  France  and  Italy,  was  in  a 
rapture  of  admiration,  and  in  a  letter  to  Lord  Cornbury  (Clarendon's 
son)  thus  speaks  of  the  house  :  "  If  it  be  not  a  solecism  to  give  a  palace 
so  vulgar  a  name,  I  have  never  seen  a  nobler  pile.  It  is  without 
hyperbole  the  best  contrived,  the  most  useful,  graceful,  and  magnificent 
house  in  England.  Here  is  taste  and  use,  solidity  and  beauty,  most 
symmetrically  combined  together  :  seriously  there  is  nothing  abroad 
pleases  me  better  :  nothing  at  home  approaches  it."  But  this  eulogy 
at  the  gallop  was,  it  must  be  remembered,  addressed  to  the  son 
of  the  builder,  and  in  an  entry  in  his  Diary  for  November  28, 
1666,  Evelyn's  enthusiasm  was  so  much  sobered  down  that  although 
he  still  confesses  that  "  it  was  a  goodly  pile  to  see,"  and  "  placed  most 
gracefully,"  yet  he  has  become  critical  and  can  write  that  there  were 
"  many  defects  as  to  ye  architecture." 

The  architect  of  the  house  was  Pratt,  of  whom  less  is  known  than 
we  might  expect,  seeing  that  he  was  responsible  for  so  fine  a  building. 
Evelyn  had  known  him  in  Rome  ;  and  we  find  him  as  one  of  the  Com- 
missioners for  the  repair  of  old  St.  Paul's  Cathedral,  deliberating  thereon 
with  Wren,  May,  and  others,  including  Evelyn  himself,  on  August  27, 
1666,  when  in  various  matters  his  judgment  differed  from  that  of  the 
diarist  and  Wren.  Pratt  was  also  the  architect  of  Lord  Allington's 
house   at   Horseheath,   a   building  which,   according  to  Lysons,   cost   no 


70     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

less  than  ^70,000 ;  but  VValpole  does  not  mention  him,  nor  is  his  name 
to  be  found  in  the  Dictionary  of  Natio7ial  Biography. 

The  cost  of  the  house  far  exceeded  the  architect's  estimate  of  ^20,000, 
and  Lord  Orrery  had  reason  for  his  remark  made  in  a  letter  to  Lord 
Clarendon,  in  which  he  assumes  that  not  the  former  sum  named  by  the 
Chancellor,  but  the  ^40,000  estimated  by  himself  was  nearer  the  actual 
figure. 

But  even  this  sum  must  have  represented  but  a  portion  of  the  outlay, 
for  large  as  it  is,  and  larger  still  as  it  was  in  those  days,  it  would  hardly  in 
itself  seem  sufficient  to  justify  Lord  Clarendon  in  saying  that  he  had  ruined 
himself  by  its  expenditure  ;  but  when  we  remember  the  splendid  way 
in  which  the  house  was  furnished  ;  the  number  of  fine  pictures  (about 
which  I  shall  have  something  to  say  presently)  that  adorned  its  walls  ; 
and  the  large  household  that  must  have  been  necessary,  it  is  not  difficult 
to  see  how  even  Clarendon's  great  resources  must  have  been  drained. 

Popular  clamour  hardly  waited  for  the  paint  to  dry  in  Clarendon 
House,  before  it  began  to  vent  itself  on  the  place  and  its  possessor  ;  all 
the  tribe  of  petty  verse-makers  and  pamphleteers  metaphorically  hastened 
to  besmear  the  walls  with  their  venom  ;  and  even  the  common  people 
were  enraged  to  see  so  much  money  expended  at  a  time  when  the  Plague 
and  the  Great  Fire,  as  well  as  the  effects  of  a  disastrous  war,  and  the 
extravagance  of  a  frivolous  court  which  they  had  always  with  them,  were 
making  sad  inroads  on  their  own  purses.  Like  all  such  clamourers  against 
personal  ostentation  and  expenditure,  they  forgot  that  the  money  thus 
lavished  at  least  passed  into  general  circulation,  and  that  employment  was 
thus  found  for  many  who  would  have  otherwise  been  idle. 

Such  considerations  could,  indeed,  hardly  be  expected  to  have  weight 
with  men  in  the  seventeenth  century,  when  we  find  so  much  of  the  same 
stupid  ignorance  of  facts  in  those  of  the  twentieth,  and  the  result  was  that, 
in  the  public  prints,  nay  painted  on  the  very  gates  of  Clarendon  House, 
were  bitter  invectives,  and  attacks  which  lost  much  of  their  point  by 
being  based  on  ignorant  supposition.  They  are  hardly  worth  quoting, 
as  they  all,  more  or  less,  harp  on  the  same  string  ;  the  building  of  the 
house  and  the  ill-gotten  gains  with  which  it  was  presumed  that  Lord 
Clarendon  paid  for  it.  Even  Andrew  Marvell,  who  should  have  known 
better,  was  represented  among  more  insignificant  assailants  of  the  Lord 
Chancellor,  and  his  "  Clarendon  House-Warming  "  is  little  better  than  the 
others  so  far  as  poetical  merit  goes,  and  none  at  all  in  sentiment. 

Pepys  mentions  the  actual  violence  done  to  the  house  itself,  in  a 
passage  in  his  Diary,  dated  June  14,  1667.  "  Mr.  Hater  tells  me," 
he  writes,  "  that  some  rude  people  have  been,  as  he  hears,  at  my  Lord 


CLARENDON   HOUSE  71 

Clarendon's,  where  they  have  cut  down  the  trees  before  his  house,  and 
broke  his  windows  ;  and  a  gibbet  either  set  up  before  or  painted  upon 
his  gate,  and  these  three  words  writ  :  '  Three  sights  to  be  seen  :  Dunkirke, 
Tangier,  and  a  barren  Queene.'  " 

Nothing,  perhaps,  more  plainly  shows  that  Clarendon  was  made 
the  scapegoat  for  every  ill  that  befell  the  nation,  than  the  last  implication, 
since  he  opposed  the  marriage  of  Charles  with  Catherine  for  the  very 
reason  for  which  he  was  supposed  to  have  urged  it  on.  One  wonders 
that  the  Plague  and  the  Great  Fire  were  not  also  laid  to  his  charge  ! 

But  Lord  Clarendon  enjoyed,  if  he  ever  really  did  enjoy,  the  fruits 
of  his  expenditure  but  a  short  time  ;  such  popular  anger  could  hardly 
be  mistaken,  and  the  action  of  Parliament  soon  showed  that  the  fury 
of  his  enemies  was  not  confined  to  those  in  the  street.  In  1667,  he  was 
impeached,  and  on  November  29th  he  fled  the  country,  sending  his 
carriage  and  servants  to  York  House,  Twickenham,  to  put  his  enemies 
off  the  scent.  With  the  help  of  Charles,  whose  family  had  always  found 
him  a  devoted  friend,  he  might  conceivably  have  weathered  the  storm  ; 
but  he  had  a  stronger  enemy  even  than  the  Parliament  or  the  people, 
in  the  person  of  the  notorious  Lady  Castlemaine,  and  Charles  but  followed 
the  traditional  policy  of  his  family  in  sacrificing  to  insistence  those  with- 
out whom  their  power  would  have  been  a  negligible  quantity  ;  and  so,  like 
Wolsey,  Clarendon  fell  primarily  through  the  influence  of  a  woman. 
Evelyn  has  a  pathetic  entry  in  his  Diary,  in  which  he  relates  how  he 
went  "  to  visit  the  late  Lord  Chancellor,"  a  few  hours  before  his  flight. 
"  I  found  him,"  he  says,  "  in  his  garden,  at  his  new  built  palace,  sitting 
in  his  gowt  wheelchayre,  and  seeing  the  gates  setting  up  towards  the 
north  and  the  fields.  He  looked  and  spake  very  disconsolately.  After 
some  while  deploring  his  condition  to  me,  I  took  my  leave.  Next  morning 
I  heard  he  was  gone." 

The  head  and  front  of  his  offending  being  removed,  his  son.  Lord 
Cornbury,  seems  to  have  been  left  in  peaceful  possession  of  the  great 
house  in  Piccadilly,  and  here  Evelyn  visited  him,  on  December  20, 
1668  ;  and  thus  speaks  of  the  circumstance  :  "  I  din'd  with  my  Lord 
Cornbury  at  Clarendon  House,  now  bravely  furnished,  especially  with 
the  pictures  of  most  of  our  ancient  and  modern  witts,  poets,  philosophers, 
famous  and  learned  Englishmen  ;  which  collection  of  the  Chancellor's 
I  much  commended,  and  gave  his  Lordship  a  catalogue  of  more  to  be 
added." 

Of  these  pictures  we  are  luckily  able  also,  with  the  aid  of  Evelyn, 
to  obtain  some  idea,  from  a  letter  he  wrote  to  Pepys,  probably  after  the 
visit  just  recorded.     Although  the  list  supplied  is  obviously  not  exhaustive. 


72     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

it  no  doubt  contains  the  most  important  of  those  pictorial  decorations 
for  which  Clarendon  House  was  famed,  and  which  largely  consisted  of, 
as  Macaulay  says,  "  the  masterpieces  of  Vandyck  which  had  once  been 
the  property  of  ruined  Cavaliers,"  housed  in  the  "  palace  which  reared 
its  long  and  stately  front  right  opposite  to  the  humbler  residence  of 
our  Kings." 

Here  is  the  list  as  given  by  Evelyn  :  "  There  were  at  full  length, 
the  greate  Duke  of  Buckingham,  the  brave  Sir  Horace  and  Francis  Vere, 
Sir  Walter  Raleigh,  Sir  Philip  Sidney,  the  greate  Earl  of  Leicester, 
Treasurer  Buckhurst,  Burleigh,  Walsingham,  Cecil,  Lord  Chancellor 
Bacon,  EUesmere,  and  I  think  all  the  late  Chancellors  and  grave  Judges 
in  the  reignes  of  Queen  Elizabeth  and  her  successors,  James  and  Charles  L 
For  there  was  Treasurer  Weston,  Cottington,  Duke  Hamilton,  the  mag- 
nificent Earle  of  Carlisle,  Earles  of  Carnarvon,  Bristol,  Holland,  Lindsey, 
Northumberland,  Kingston,  and  Southampton  ;  Lords  Falkland  and 
Digby  (I  name  them  promiscuously  as  they  come  into  my  memorie), 
and  of  Charles  the  second,  besides  the  Royal  Family,  the  Dukes  of  Albe- 
marle and  Newcastle  ;  Earles  of  Darby,  Shrewsbury,  St.  Albans,  the 
brave  Montrose,  Sandwich,  Manchester,  &c.  ;  and  of  the  Coife,  Sir 
Edward  Coke,  Judge  Berkeley,  Bramston,  Sir  Orlando  Bridgman,  Jeofry 
Palmer,  Selden,  Vaughan,  Sir  Robert  Cotton,  Dugdale,  Mr.  Camden, 
Mr.  Hales  of  Eton.  The  Archbishops  Abbot  and  Laud,  Bishops  Juxon, 
Sheldon,  Morley,  and  Duppa  ;  Dr.  Sanderson,  Brownrig,  Dr.  Donne, 
Chillingworth,  and  severall  of  the  Cleargie,  and  others  of  the  former 
and  present  age.  For  there  were  the  pictures  of  Fisher,  Fox,  Sir  Thomas 
More,  Tho.  Lord  Cromwell,  Dr.  Nowel,  &c.  And  what  was  most  agree- 
able to  his  Lordship's  humour,  Old  Chaucer,  Shakespere,  Beaumont 
and  Fletcher,  who  were  both  in  one  piece,  Spenser,  Mr.  Waller,  Cowley, 
Hudibras,  which  last  he  plac'd  in  the  roome  where  he  us'd  to  eate  and 
dine  in  public." 

What  a  gallery  !  There  is  hardly  a  notable  name  in  three  reigns 
absent  from  the  collection  ;  but  for  the  great  Chancellor  the  assemblage 
must  have  awakened  sad  memories  often  enough  ;  and  some  of  those 
heads  must  surely  have  given  him  food  for  reflection  ;  how  many  of 
them  had  not  fallen  on  the  scaffold  ;  how  many  of  them  had  not  sacrificed 
everything  for  the  cause  of  which  he  was  the  strenuous  partisan  ;  how 
many  had  not  experienced  what  little  faith  there  was  to  be  placed  in 
princes  !  One  wonders  if  the  destiny  of  some  of  these  did  not  some- 
times awaken  fear  and  apprehension  in  his  mind  ;  when  he  gazed  on 
the  features  of  the  "  greate  Duke  of  Buckingham,"  and  Lord  Chancellor 
Bacon,  did  no  premonition  of  his  own  fate  force  itself  upon  him  ;    did 


CLARENDON   HOUSE  73 

he  believe  that  "  vaulting  ambition  "  in  his  case  would  not  o'erleap 
itself  ?  Surely  the  sad  eyes  of  the  King  he  served  so  faithfully,  and 
those  of  the  Strafford  he  had  known  so  well,  must  have  told  him  some- 
thing !  When  he  sat  in  his  "  gowt  wheelchayre,"  and  heard  the  rabble 
clamouring  at  his  gates  and  tearing  down  the  trees,  the  fate  of  Laud 
and  Montrose,  and  Falkland's  bitter  death  should  have  warned  him. 
No  wonder  from  such  a  sad  assemblage  his  "  general  humour  "  was  to 
turn  to  the  contemplation  of  old  Dan  Chaucer,  and  Shakespere's  mighty 
brow  ;  the  courtly  Spenser  and  the  gentle  Cowley  ;  no  wonder  he  selected 
the  humorous  features  of  Butler  to  smile  upon  him  while  he  dined,  and 
perhaps  snatched  a  respite  from  the  troubles  that  compassed  him  round, 
by  the  thought  of  that  book  which  Pepys  tried  so  hard  to  like,  and  which 
was  as  potent  as  the  sword  of  cavaliers  to  bring  a  King  into  his  own  again. 

How  many  of  these  "  full  lengths  "  must  now  be  hanging  in  the 
great  houses  we  shall  presently  be  examining,  it  is  impossible  to  say. 
Perhaps  that  of  Ellesmere  is  identical  with  the  portrait  which  now  hangs 
in  Bridgewater  House  ;  did  those  wonderful  presentments  of  the  Duke 
of  Hamilton  and  the  Earl  of  Holland  which  are  to-day  in  the  dining- 
room  of  Montagu  House,  originally  hang  on  my  Lord  Chancellor's  walls  ? 
Such  speculation  is,  of  course,  idle,  but  we  know  that  some  of  the  repre- 
sentatives of  those  cavaliers  whose  portraits  found  their  way  to  Clarendon 
House  made  attempts  to  obtain  at  least  replicas  of  their  former  posses- 
sions, and  there  is  on  record  that  "  Earl  Paulett  was  an  humble  petitioner 
to  the  son  of  the  Chancellor  for  leave  to  take  a  copy  of  his  grandfather's 
and  grandmother's  pictures  that  had  been  plundered  from  Hinton  St. 
George  ;  which  was  obtained  with  great  difficulty,  because  it  was  thought 
that  copies  might  lessen  the  value  of  the  originals." 

Lord  Cornbury  appears  to  have  let  Clarendon  House  to  the  Duke 
of  Ormonde,  soon  after  his  father's  flight ;  at  any  rate  the  Duke  was  living 
here  when  Colonel  Blood  made  his  daring  attempt  to  kidnap  him  on 
the  night  of  December  6,  1670,  as  he  was  proceeding  up  St.  James's 
Street  after  having  attended  the  Prince  of  Orange,  then  on  a  visit  to 
this  country,  to  the  City.  Blood  and  his  myrmidons  had  actually  suc- 
ceeded in  getting  possession  of  the  Duke's  person  and  conveying  him 
some  way  past  Berkeley  House  towards  Knightsbridge,  when  the  latter 
by  a  desperate  effort  unhorsed  the  man  who  was  guarding  him,  and 
struggled  with  him  on  the  ground  until  rescued  by  his  porter  and  others. 

On  Lord  Clarendon's  death,  in  1674,  ^^^  mansion  *  was  sold,  in  the 

'  William  Skillman  engraved  a  view  of  the  faqade  of  Albemarle  House,  as  it  was  afterwards 
called. 


74     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

following  year,  to  the  second  Duke  of  Albemarle,  the  son  of  the  great 
Monk,  for  ^^26,000,  which  sum,  knowing  as  we  do  what  the  place  cost,  seems 
a  very  reasonable  one.  In  the  Calendar  of  State  Papers,  for  November 
1675,  is  a  petition  of  the  Duke  of  Albemarle's  to  the  King,  under  these 
circumstances  :  The  Duke  points  out  that  when  the  original  grant  was 
made  to  Clarendon  on  August  23,  1664,  the  property  was  described  as 
being  in  the  parish  of  St.  James's  in  the  Fields,  whereas  it  was  properly 
in  that  of  St.  Martin's  in  the  Fields,  and  he  desires  that,  as  he  has  since 
purchased  it,  the  original  grant  may  be  confirmed  in  accurate  terms,  so 
as  to  substantiate  his  title  ;   which,  by  another  entry,  we  find  acceded  to. 

But  the  Duke  was  an  extravagant  man,  besides  being  notoriously 
intemperate—"  burnt  to  a  coal  with  hot  liquor,"  is  the  comment  of  a 
contemporary — and  his  monetary  difficulties  becoming  acute,  he  was, 
perforce,  obliged  to  part  with  the  place,  then  known  as  Albemarle  House, 
to  Sir  Thomas  Bond  and  others  for,  it  is  said,^  the  still  further  reduced 
sum  of  ^20,000  ;  although,  as  we  shall  see,  the  price  has  been  placed  at 
a  much  higher  figure  by  Evelyn. 

Bond  and  his  syndicate  bought  the  house  for  the  specific  purpose  of 
pulling  it  down  and  developing  the  estate,  and  Bond  Street  and  Albe- 
marle Street  perpetuate  the  names  of  its  owners.^ 

Evelyn,  writing  on  September  18,  1683,  thus  records  the  final  in- 
carnation of  the  house  where  the  great  Clarendon  and  the  scarcely  less 
celebrated  Ormonde  had  for  a  short  time  dwelt. 

"  After  dinner,"  he  writes,  "  I  walked  to  survey  the  sad  demolition 
of  Clarendon  House,  that  costly  and  only  sumptuous  palace  of  the  late 
Lord  Chancellor  Hyde,  where  I  have  often  been  so  cheerful  with  him, 
and  sometimes  so  sad.  .  .  .  This  stately  palace  is  decreed  to  ruin  to 
support  the  prodigious  waste  the  Duke  of  Albemarle  had  made  of  his 
estate.  He  sold  it  to  the  highest  bidder,  and  it  fell  to  certain  rich 
bankers  and  mechanics,  who  gave  for  it  and  the  ground '  about  ^35,000  ; 
they  designe  a  new  towne,  as  it  were,  and  a  most  magnificent  piazza. 
'Tis  said  they  have  already  materials  towards  it  with  what  they  sold  of 
the  house  alone,  more  worth  than  what  they  paid  for  it.  See  the 
vicissitude  of  earthly  things  !  I  was  astonished  at  this  demolition,  nor 
less  at  the  little  army  of  labourers  and  artificers  levelling  the  ground,  laying 
foundations,  at  an  expense  of  _^200,ooo,  if  they  perfect  their  designe."  * 

'   In  the  Loyal  Protestant  and  True  Domes  tick  Intelligencer. 

'  It  is  said  that  the  materials  of  the  mansion  fetched  more  than  was  paid  for  the  property. 

^  Said  to  have  extended  to  twenty-four  acres  in  1688. 

»  Archer,  in  his  Vestiges  of  Old  London,  1851,  says  that  the  pillars  flanking  the  entrance  of 
the  Three  Kings  Livery  Stables,  in  Piccadilly,  were,  at  the  time  he  published  his  work,  the  sole 
existing  remains  of  the  once  stately  Clarendon  House. 


BUCKINGHAM   HOUSE  75 

BUCKINGHAM  HOUSE 

When  James  I.,  in  1609,  attempted  to  create  an  industry  by  the 
importation  of  silkworms  into  this  country,  the  spot  chosen  for  the 
planting  of  the  necessary  mulberry  trees  was  part  of  that  on  which  the 
present  Buckingham  Palace,  with  its  forty  acres  of  gardens,  stands.  The 
keeping  of  these  gardens  was,  with  the  occupancy  of  the  house,  granted 
by  Charles  I.  to  Lord  Aston,  in  1629,  but  a  year  or  two  later,  certainly 
before  1632,  Lord  Goring  purchased  the  property  for  ;^8oo,  and  there- 
upon called  the  residence  Goring  House.^  It  is  not  exactly  clear  when 
the  cultivation  of  silkworms  and  the  trees  that  fed  them  was  given  up 
as  a  hopeless  endeavour,  but  in  any  case  it  is  obvious  that  Goring  House 
and  a  certain  portion  of  the  grounds  were  divided  from  the  remainder 
of  the  property  which  continued  to  be  called  The  Mulberry  Gardens, 
and  was  for  many  years  a  place  of  public  amusement,  much  affected 
by  the  fashion  of  the  day  and  continually  receiving  mention  in  the  plays 
and  diaries  of  the  period  ;  Pepys  and  Evelyn  referring  to  it  on  various 
occasions,  and  Etherege  and  Sedley  and  Wycherley  all  introducing  it 
into  their  dramatic  works ;  one  of  the  plays  of  Sedley  having  for  its  title 
that  of  The  Mulberry  Garden. 

When  this  division  took  place  other  portions  of  the  ground  were 
also  separated,  and  by  Faithorne  and  Newcourt's  plan  of  1658,  we  can  see 
that  there  were  three  residences  here  at  that  time  ;  the  smallest,  with 
which  we  are  not  concerned,  standing  at  about  the  south-east  corner  of 
Constitution  Hill  ;  the  second.  Goring  House,  where  the  palace  is  now 
situated ;  and  the  third,  and  largest,  known  as  Tart  Hall,  immediately 
on  its  south  side. 

Before  proceeding  to  say  anything  of  Goring  House,  I  must  give 
a  few  facts  about  Tart  Hall.  This  fine  house  was  built,  in  1638,  for  the 
Countess  of  Arundel,  wife  of  the  marble-collecting  Earl  of  pious  memory, 
by  Nicholas  Stone,  the  elder.^  From  Lady  Arundel,  the  place  passed 
to  her  second  son.  Lord  Stafford,  who  was  beheaded,  in  1680,  on  the 
lying  evidence  of  Titus  Oates.  It  later  became  a  place  of  entertainment, 
probably  in  conjunction  with  the  Mulberry  Gardens,  and  was  demolished 
in  1720,  after  its  contents,  including  many  of  the  famous  Arundel  marbles, 
and  some  of  the  pictures  collected  by  the  Earl,  among  which  was  the 
famous  "  Diana  and  Actaeon  "  by  Titian  now  belonging  to  Lord  EUesmere, 
had  been  sold  by  auction. 

'  There  is  a  plan  of  the  Goring  estate,  showing  Goring  House  facing  south,  and  dated  1675, 
in  the  Grace  collection. 

'  Walpole  mentions  his  receiving  at  various  times  ;£6oo  odd  to  pay  his  workmen  in  this 
matter. 


76     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Return  we  to  Goring  House  which  during  the  Commonwealth  was 
tenanted  for  a  time  by  Speaker  Lenthall.  After  the  Restoration,  Lord 
Goring  returned  and  took  up  his  residence  here,  having  expended  some 
_^20,ooo  on  the  place,  and  on  July  lo,  1660,  Pepys,  who  had  that  day 
put  on  for  the  first  time  a  silk  suit,  went  with  his  wife  to  the  wedding  of 
Nan  Hartlib  and  Mynheer  Roder  "  which  was  kept  at  Goring  House, 
with  very  great  state,  cost,  and  noble  company,"  according  to  the  diarist. 
Lord  Goring,  however,  only  enjoyed  his  second  term  of  ownership  for 
two  years,  when,  on  his  death,  his  son  sold  the  mansion  to  Henry 
Bennet,  created  Earl  of  Arlington,  in  1665,  and  known  to  fame  as 
one  of  Charles  H.'s  secretaries  of  state,  and  the  "  A  "  of  the  notorious 
Cabal.  At  this  time,  it  was  but  an  "  ill  built  "  house,  according  to 
Evelyn,  who  however  saw  in  it  the  possibilities  of  a  "  pretty  villa." 

Lord  Arlington  seems  to  have  done  much  to  make  it  a  fine  place  ; 
for  if  he  did  not  actually  rebuild  it  he  so  greatly  enlarged  it,  that  it  might 
properly,  even  then,  have  been  considered  as  palatial.  Its  name  was 
at  the  same  time  changed  from  Goring  to  Arlington  House. ^  Soon  after 
the  death  of  the  second  Lord  Goring,  which  occurred  on  March  3, 
1670,  Charles  granted,  in  1673,  the  grounds  to  Lord  Arlington  ;  these 
grounds  being  the  Mulberry  Gardens,  as  separate  from  the  house  and 
gardens  directly  attached  to  them. 

But,  in  the  following  year,  the  mansion  was  totally  destroyed  by 
fire,  the  whole  of  its  contents  being  consumed.  Whether  this  disaster 
was  the  immediate  cause,  or  whether  it  was  due  to  the  demise  of  the 
whole  property  to  Lord  Arlington,  it  is  certain  that  the  Mulberry  Gardens 
were  closed  about  this  time,  and  henceforth  may  be  regarded  as  private 
property.  Evelyn  refers  to  the  destruction  of  the  house,  in  an  entry  in 
his  Diary,  for  September  21,  1674,  ^^^^  •  "  ^  went  to  see  the  great  loss 
that  Lord  Arlington  had  sustained  by  fire  at  Goring  House,  this  night 
consumed  to  the  ground,  with  exceeding  loss  of  hangings,  plate,  rare 
pictures,  and  cabinets  ;  hardly  anything  was  saved  of  the  best  and 
most  princely  furniture  that  any  subject  had  in  England.  My  Lord  and 
Lady  were  both  absent  at  Bath." 

Soon  after  the  disaster  Lord  Arlington  set  about  rebuilding  the  house, 
and  a  poem  in  Latin  written  by  Dryden's  son,  Charles,  perpetuates  its 
beauty  and  advantages.  On  Arlington's  death,  in  1685,  the  house  passed 
to  his  only  child  Isabella,  who  had  been  married  when  little  more  than 
an  infant,  to  the  Duke  of  Grafton,  a  son  of  Charles  II.  and  Lady  Castle- 

'  The  following  entn'  occurs  in  Evelyn's  diary,  under  date  of  April  17,  1673:  "She  (the 
Countess  of  Arlington)  carried  us  up  into  her  new  dressing-roome  at  Goring  House,  where  was 
a  bed,  two  glasses,  silver  jars  and  vases,  cabinets  and  other  rich  furniture  as  I  had  seldom 
seene." 


BUCKINGHAM  HOUSE  77 

maine.  The  Duchess  of  Grafton  let  it,  in  1698,  to  the  first  Duke  of 
Devonshire,  and  later,  in  1702,  sold  the  property,  for  _^i  3,000,  to  John 
Sheffield,  created  in  the  following  year,  Duke  of  Buckinghamshire,  the 

"  Sharp-judging  Adriel,  the  muse's  friend, 
Himself  a  muse  in  Sanhedrin's  debate  " 

of  Dryden's  Absalom  and  Achitofhel. 

Although  Arlington  House  must  have  been  a  fine  one,^  it  was  not 
fine  enough  to  satisfy  the  taste  of  its  new  owner,  and  in  the  year  in 
which  he  was  raised  to  the  dukedom,  he  commissioned  Colin  Campbell 
to  design  a  new  palace  ;  at  least  so  some  authorities  say  ;  others  affirming 
that  the  architect  was  that  Captain  Wynne,  or  Winde,  who  was 
responsible  for  Newcastle  House  in  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields,  and  Coombe 
Abbey.  Walpole,  in  referring  to  Campbell  and  Winde,  makes  no  mention 
of  either  having  had  a  hand  in  Buckingham  House,  but  Walpole  was 
so  frequently  inadequate  that  perhaps  this  goes  for  little.  On  the  whole, 
the  evidence  is  in  favour  of  Winde,  and  I  am  glad  it  is  so,  for  it  enables 
me  to  introduce  the  following  anecdote. 

When  the  mansion  was  nearly  completed,  Winde  had  a  good  deal 
of  difficulty  in  obtaining  payment  of  arrears  owed  by  the  Duke  ;  indeed 
it  seemed  as  if  a  settlement  was  to  be  postponed  shie  die.  At  this 
juncture,  the  wily  architect  one  day  induced  the  Duke  to  mount  with 
him  to  the  roof  of  the  house,  in  order  to  see  the  splendid  view. 
His  Grace,  unsuspecting,  became  immersed  in  the  beauty  of  the  prospect, 
when  Winde  took  the  opportunity  of  locking  the  trap-door  by  which 
they  had  reached  the  leads,  and  then  threw  the  key  over  the  parapet. 
"  I  am  a  ruined  man,"  he  exclaimed  to  the  astonished  Duke,  "  and  unless 
I  receive  your  word  of  honour  that  the  debts  incurred  by  this  building 
shall  be  paid  directly,  I  will  instantly  throw  myself  over."  "  And  what 
is  to  become  of  me  t  "  said  the  Duke.  "  Why,  you  shall  accompany  me," 
was  the  staggering  reply.  Needs  must  when  such  a  devil  of  an  architect 
drives,  and  the  promise  was  immediately  given  ;  when  the  trap-door 
was  opened,  on  a  preconcerted  signal,  by  one  of  Winde's  workmen.'' 

There  seems  to  have  been  a  consensus  of  praise  bestowed  on  the  beauty 
of  the  red-brick  building  which  arose  on  the  site  of  Arlington  House,  one 
poet  calling  it  "  a  princely  palace,"  another,  no  less  a  one  than  Pope, 
affirming  that  it  had  all  the  excellent  attributes  of  a  "  country  house 
in  the  summer,  and  a  town  house  in  the  winter  ;  "  even  the  hypercritical 

'  There  is  extant  a  very  rare  etching  of  the  mansion,  showing  a  large  cupola  that  dominated 
the  roof,  reproduced  in  Larwood's  Story  of  tlie  London  Parks. 
^   The  Fine  Arts  in  Gi-cat  Britain,  by  W.  B.  -S.  Taylor. 


78     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Ralph  is  found  approving,  and  stating  that  it  "  attracts  more  eyes,  and 
has  more  admirers  than  almost  any  other  house  about  town,"  which 
is  certainly  more  than  can  be  said  of  Nash's  enormous  pile  which  has 
taken  its  place  ;  while  M.  de  Saussure,  who  visited  this  country  in  1725, 
specifically  mentions  it  as  one  of  the  three  finest  mansions  in  London 
at  that  day.  Macky,  in  his  Journey  through  England^  published  in  17 14,  gives 
an  elaborate  description  of  the  house,  which  he  calls  "  one  of  the  great 
beauties  of  London,  both  by  reason  of  its  situation  and  its  building  ;  " 
what  its  exterior  looked  like  may  be  seen  from  extant  views,  but  Macky's 
account  is  interesting  and  valuable  as  affording  us  a  glimpse  of  the  interior. 

"  It  is  situated,"  he  writes,  "  at  the  west  end  of  St.  James's  Park, 
fronting  the  Mall  and  the  great  walk  ;  and  behind  it  is  a  fine  garden, 
a  whole  terrace  (from  whence  as  well  as  from  the  apartments,  you  have 
a  most  delicious  prospect),  and  a  little  park  with  a  pretty  canal.  The 
courtyard  which  fronts  the  Park  is  spacious  ;  the  offices  are  on  each  side 
divided  from  the  Palace  by  two  arching  galleries,  and  in  the  middle  of 
the  court  is  a  round  basin  of  water,  lined  with  freestone,  with  the  figures 
of  Neptune  and  the  Tritons  in  a  water-work.  The  staircase  is  large 
and  nobly  painted  ;  and  in  the  Hall  before  you  ascend  the  stairs  is  a  very 
fine  statue  of  Cain  slaying  Abel  in  marble.  The  apartments  are  indeed 
very  noble,  the  furniture  rich,  and  many  very  good  pictures.  The  top 
of  the  Palace  is  flat,  on  which  one  hath  a  full  view  of  London  and  West- 
minster, and  the  adjacent  country ;  and  the  four  figures  of  Mercury, 
Secrecy,  Equity,  and  Liberty,  front  the  Park,  and  those  of  the  Four 
Seasons  the  gardens,"  and  he  adds  that  "  His  Grace  hath  also  put  inscriptions 
on  the  four  parts  of  his  Palace.  On  the  front  towards  the  Park  .  .  .  the 
inscription  is  SzV  siti  Icetantur  Lares  ;  and  fronting  the  garden,  Rus  in  urheJ^ 
Both  of  which  mottoes  may  be  said  to  have  been  singularly  apposite,  which 
is  not  always  the  case  when  inscriptions  from  the  dead  languages  are 
pressed  into  the  service  of  modern  builders. 

To  this  description  we  are  luckily  able  to  add  something  from  the 
detailed  account  of  the  place  addressed  by  its  owner  to  the  Duke  of 
Shrewsbury,  which  is  to  be  found  at  length,  together  with  three  vignettes 
of  the  mansion,  in  the  Duke  of  Buckinghamshire's  works,  published  in  1729. 
From  this  we  find  that  the  pictures  hanging  in  the  Hall  which  Macky 
mentions  were  "  done  in  the  school  of  Raphael  "  ;  that  the  parlour,  reached 
from  the  Hall,  was  33  feet  by  39  feet,  "  with  a  niche  15  feet  broad  for 
a  Bufette,  paved  with  white  marble,  and  placed  within  an  arch,  with 
Pilasters  of  divers  colours,  the  upper  part  of  which  as  high  as  the  ceiling 
is  painted  by  Ricci." 

From  another  source  we  find  that  the  ceiling  of  the  saloon  was  executed 


BUCKINGHAM  HOUSE  79 

by  Horatio  Gentileschi,  having  been  originally  painted  for  Villiers,  first 
Duke  of  Buckingham  ;  it  represented  the  nine  Muses  in  a  circle,  sur- 
rounding Apollo,  and  was  no  less  than  eighteen  feet  in  diameter.  Walpole 
also  mentions  Bellucci,  an  Italian  painter  who  came  to  this  country, 
in  1716,  as  having  painted  a  ceiling  here  in  1722,  for  which  the  Duchess 
paid  him  ^^500  ;  and  we  know  that  Charles  II.  was  first  attracted  to 
the  work  of  Verrio  by  seeing  some  of  his  paintings  in  this  mansion. 

I  need  not  recapitulate  the  whole  of  the  Duke's  lengthy  description 
of  his  palace,  but  it  is  pleasant  to  read  that  "  just  under  the  windows  " 
(of  the  book-room),  "  is  a  little  wilderness  full  of  blackbirds  and  nightin- 
gales," and  that  the  trees  grew  so  well  and  quickly  that  even  those  planted 
by  the  owner  himself  soon  required  lopping  "  to  prevent  their  hindering 
the  view  of  that  fine  canal  in  the  Park  "  ;  and  again  that  "  a  wall  covered 
with  roses  and  jassemine,"  was  built  low  "  to  admit  the  view  of  a  meadow 
full  of  cattle  just  under  it."     Rus  in  urhe  indeed  !  ^ 

But  even  with  all  this  there  was  the  inevitable  fly  in  the  ointment, 
and  we  find  the  Duke  "  oftener  missing  a  pretty  gallery  in  the  old  house 
I  pulled  down  than  pleased  with  the  salon  which  I  built  in  its  stead, 
tho'  a  thousand  times  better  in  all  manner  of  respects."  May  we  not 
ask  with  Horace — 

"Qui  fit,  ut  nemo,  quam  sibi  sortem 
Seu  ratio  dederit,  seu  fors  objicerit,  ilia 
Contentus  vivat "  ? 

On  the  death  of  the  Duke,  on  February  24,  172 1,  Buckingham 
House  was  left  to  his  third  wife,  daughter  of  James  II.  by  Catherine 
Sedley  ;  and  two  years  later  we  find  the  Prince  and  Princess  of  Wales 
(afterwards  George  II.  and  Queen  Caroline)  in  treaty  for  it  ;  which, 
remembering  its  later  history,  is  interesting. 

But  the  Duchess  wanted  three  thousand  a  year  ^  as  rent,  and  would 
take  not  less  than  ^60,000  for  it  "  as  it  stands,  with  furniture,  pictures, 
gardens,  meadows,  and  little  tenements  which  pay  one  hundred  and 
twenty  pounds  per  annum,"  and  she  says  rightly  enough :  "  All  his 
Majesty's  revenue  cannot  purchase  a  place  so  well  situated  for  a  less 
sum  ;  and  indeed,"  she  adds,  "  it  is  hardly  worth  for  that,  giving  my 
son,  when  he  grows  up,  the  mortification  to  find  such  a  house  gone  from 
him  ...  a  million  cannot  find  him  such  a  valuable  one." 

'  As  Mr.  Blomfield  points  out,  Buckingham  House  was  one  of  the  earliest  examples  of  a 
mansion  built  on  the  plan  of  a  large  rectangular  central  block  connected  by  colonnades  with 
detached  offices  "  treated  as  pavilions  in  advance  of  the  main  buildings,  and  forming  three 
sides  of  the  fore  court." 

^  Her  long  letter  on  the  matter,  to  Lady  Suffolk,  Queen  Caroline's  "good  Howard,"  is  in 
the  Suffolk  Papers,  vol.  i.  pp.  113-117. 


8o     THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF  LONDON 

We  thus  see  that  the  Duchess  was  by  no  means  a  wilHng  seller,  and 
the  matter,  probably  on  account  of  lack  of  sufficient  funds  in  the  Prince's 
exchequer,  fell  through,  so  that  her  Grace  was  still  able,  as  Walpole  tells 
us  was  her  custom,  on  the  anniversary  of  the  execution  of  Charles  I. 
to  receive  Lord  Hervey  "  in  the  Great  Drawing  Room  of  Buckingham 
House,  seated  in  a  chair  of  state,  in  deep  mourning,  attended  by  her 
women  in  like  weeds,  in  memory  of  the  royal  martyr." 

It  was  to  Lord  Hervey,  the  "  Sporus  "  and  "  Lord  Fanny  "  of  Pope's 
bitter  invective,  that  she  left  the  property.  He,  however,  never  resided 
in  it,  and  died  in  1743,  when  it  appears  to  have  come  into  the  possession 
of  Sir  Charles  Sheffield,  the  natural  son  of  the  Duke  of  Buckinghamshire  ; 
the  second  and  last  Duke  of  this  line  having  died  in  1735.  From  Sir 
Charles  the  property  was  purchased  by  George  HL,  in  1762,  as  a 
residence  for  Queen  Charlotte,  on  whom  it  was  afterwards  settled  by 
an  Act  of  Parliament  passed  in  1775,  the  price  paid  being  ^28,000; 
another  instance  of  the  extraordinary  fall  in  the  value  of  real  property 
under  the  Georges.  With  its  conversion  into  a  royal  palace,  we  have 
no  more  to  do  with  it ;  but  it  is  interesting  to  know  that  in  the  library 
here  Dr.  Johnson  had  his  famous  interview  with  the  King,  when  the 
Great  Cham  of  literature  found  the  manners  of  his  sovereign  "  those  of 
as  fine  a  gentleman  as  we  may  suppose  Lewis  the  Fourteenth  or  Charles 
the  Second."  ' 

MONTAGU   HOUSE,    BLOOMSBURY 

What  the  late  Lord  Salisbury  was  accustomed  to  say  about  the 
advantages  of  large  maps  in  placing  us  aii  courant  with  international 
questions  and  the  mysteries  of  boundary  lines,  holds  good  when  we  are 
studying  the  former  outlines  of  our  great  city,  and  are  attempting 
to  rehabilitate  some  of  its  past  glories.  An  investigation,  indeed,  of 
an  authentic  plan  on  a  large  scale,  will,  it  is  possible,  teach  us  more 
than  the  most  strenuous  attempts  of  topographers  to  verbally  reconstruct 
a  locality  or  localise  the  position  of  some  now  almost  forgotten  landmark. 
This  is  particularly  the  case  with  the  great  house  about  which  I  want 
to  say  something  now.  If  we  look  at  that  part  of  Morden  and  Lea's 
plan  of  London  of  1732,  which  deals  with  the  parish  of  St.  Giles  and 
its  vicinity,  we  shall  see  the  outlines  of  Montagu  House  and  its  garden 
very  clearly  marked,  and  we  shall  gain  a  good  idea  of  the  importance 

'  The  present  palace  was  built,  partly  by  additions  to  the  original  house,  in  1825,  under 
Nash  ;  partly  by  various  additions  made  by  Blore  at  the  time  of  the  accession  of  Queen 
Victoria. 


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MONTAGU    HOUSE  8i 

of  the  former  and  the  extent  of  the  latter.  We  shall  see  that  having 
a  long  frontage  to  Great  Russell  Street,  it  was  bounded  on  its  north 
and  west  sides  hy  open  fields,  a  portion  of  which  fields  are  traditionally 
interesting ;  and  that  on  its  eastern  boundary  stood  Southampton  House 
and  its  ample  gardens,  only  less  noble  in  size  than  Montagu  House  itself, 
and  about  which  I  shall  have  some  remarks  to  make  later  on.  Of  the 
principal  front  and  great  courtyard  of  Montagu  House  we  can  also  gain  an 
excellent  idea  from  the  print  published  in  1714,  which  is  here  reproduced; 
and  of  its  history  and  interior  decorations,  as  well  as  of  its  precursor  which 
was  destroyed  by  fire,  every  writer  on  London  has  had  something  to  say. 

The  first  Montagu  House  appears  to  have  been  erected  about  1675, 
by  Ralph  Montagu,  who  succeeded  his  father  as  third  Baron  Montagu 
of  Boughton  in  1683,  and  who  died  in  1709,  having  been  created  an  earl 
in  1689,  and  a  duke  in  1705.  Evelyn,  who  always  took  an  early  oppor- 
tunity of  inspecting  any  new  building,  went  to  see  the  place  on  May  11, 
1676.  "  I  dined  with  Mr.  Charleton,"  he  writes,  "  and  went  to  see 
Mr.  Montague's  new  palace  neere  Bloomsbury,  built  by  Mr.  Hooke  of 
our  Society  {i.e.  the  Royal  Society),  after  the  French  manner." 

Robert  Hooke,  although  he  is  not  included  by  Walpole  among  the 
architects  of  the  day,  was  a  well-known  man,  for  other  reasons.  He  was 
a  famous  mathematician,  and  besides  was  the  inventor  of  spring  clocks 
and  pocket  watches,  and  held  the  important  post  of  Curator  to  the 
Royal  Society,  as  well  as  that  of  Professor  of  Geometry  at  Gresham  College. 
The  fact  that  he  is  ignored  by  Walpole  is  the  more  singular  seeing  that 
he  was  largely  employed  in  the  reconstruction  of  that  part  of  the  town 
destroyed  in  the  Great  Fire.  Pepys  speaks  of  him  as  one  "  who  is  the 
most,  and  promises  the  least,  of  any  man  in  the  world  that  ever  I  saw," 
and  refers  to  his  book  on  Microscopy  as  "  a  most  excellent  piece,"  and 
he  seems  on  one  occasion  to  have  interested  worthy  Samuel  in  such  an 
unexhilarating  process  as  that  of  felt-making  ;  and  at  another  time  to 
have  rather  mystified  him  by  a  discourse  on  musical  sounds,  which  though 
above  the  head  of  the  Diarist,  he,  nevertheless,  found  to  be  "  mighty 
fine  "  ;  indeed,  Pepys,  as  a  member  of  the  Royal  Society,  was  thrown 
much  in  Hooke's  company,  and  whenever  he  mentions  him,  it  is  generally 
to  record  some  piece  of  information  imparted  either  in  conversation 
or  at  one  of  the  lectures  at  Gresham  College,  and  always  to  Pepys's 
"  great  content."  Hooke,  indeed,  seems  to  have  been  an  all-round  man 
to  whose  mind  nothing  came  amiss,  and  once  Evelyn,  calling  at  The 
Burdens  at  Epsom,  found  him,  with  Sir  William  Petty  and  Dr.  Wilkins, 
"  contriving  chariots,  new  rigging  for  ships,  a  wheele  for  one  to  run 
races  in,  and  other  mechanical  inventions,"  and  he  adds :  "  Perhaps  three 


82     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF    LONDON 

such  persons  together  were  not  to  be  found  elsewhere  in  Europe  for 
parts  and  ingenuity."  * 

I  have  loitered  somewhat  over  Dr.  Hooke,  because  the  architect  of 
such  an  admittedly  fine  mansion  as  Montagu  House  seemed  to  require 
a  few  words,  particularly  as  he  was,  in  other  respects,  so  accomplished  a 
man. 

The  nobleman  for  whom  he  designed  the  house  was  not  less  notable 
in  a  different  sphere — that  of  politics  and  diplomacy.  He  had  been 
Master  of  the  Horse  to  Katherine  of  Braganza  ;  in  1666,  he  was  sent  as 
Ambassador  Extraordinary  to  Paris,  and  three  years  later  was  resident 
Ambassador  in  that  capital  ;  in  1672,  he  was  made  a  Privy  Councillor, 
and  four  years  later  was  again  entrusted  with  a  special  mission  to  France, 
as  he  was  again  in  the  following  year.  For  about  five  years  he  represented 
Northampton  and  Huntingdon  in  Parliament ;  and  on  the  top  of  other 
honours,  was  created  Marquis  of  Monthermer,  and  Duke  of  Montagu 
in  1705,  four  years  before  his  death.  He  married  twice  ;  first,  Elizabeth, 
Dowager-Countess  of  Northumberland,  and  secondly,  Elizabeth,  Dowager- 
Duchess  of  Albemarle — "  the  mad  Duchess,"  as  she  was  called. 

Montagu  House  was  evidently  completed  and  furnished  by  the  end 
of  1679,  for  we  find  Evelyn  paying  another  visit  there,  on  November  5th 
of  that  year,  and  noting  the  beauty  of  its  contents,  but  complaining  that 
the  garden,  though  fine,  was  "  too  much  expos'd,"  which,  however, 
considering  that  it  was  open  to  the  fields,  its  owner  probably  thought  a 
distinct  advantage.  Four  years  later  the  Diarist  paid  yet  another  visit 
to  the  place,  in  company  with  the  newly-married  Duchess  of  Grafton 
and  her  father  the  Earl  of  Arlington,  then  Lord  Chamberlain.  Evelyn 
speaks  of  the  mansion  as  "  a  stately  and  ample  palace,"  and  mentions 
particularly  "  Signr.  Verrio's  fresco  paintings,  especially  the  funeral  pile 
of  Dido,  on  the  stayrecase,  the  labours  of  Hercules,  fight  with  the  Centaurs, 
effeminacy  with  Dejanira,  and  Apotheosis  or  reception  among  the 
gods,  on  ye  walls,  and  roofe  of  the  greate  roome  above,"  which  he  says 
"  exceeds  anything  he  has  yet  done,  both  for  designe,  colouring,  and 
exuberance  of  invention,  comparable  to  ye  greatest  of  the  old  masters, 
or  what  they  celebrate  in  Rome,"  which,  when  we  remember  Pope's 
"  sprawling  saints  of  Verrio,"  shows  how  differently  ages  judge  artistic 
merit.  Unfortunately  Evelyn  does  not  particularise  the  other  pictorial 
decorations  in  the  house,  except  to  remark  generally  that  "  in  the  rest 
of  the  chambers  are  some  excellent  paintings  of  Holbein  and  other 
masters."  Of  the  exterior  he  says  :  "  The  garden  is  large,  and  in  good 
aire,  but  the  front  of  the  house  not  answerable  to  the  inside.     The  court 

'  Narcissus  Luttrell  records  the  death  of  Hooke,  which  took  place  on  March  3,  1703. 


MONTAGU    HOUSE  83 

is  entrie,  and  wings  for  offices,  seeme  too  neare  the  streete,  and  that  so 
very  narrow  and  meanly  built  that  the  corridore  is  not  in  proportion  to 
ye  rest,  to  hide  the  court  from  being  overlooked  by  neighbours,  all  which 
might  have  been  prevented  had  they  placed  the  house  further  into  ye 
ground,^  of  which  there  is  enough  to  spare."  "  But,"  he  concludes, 
"  it  is  a  fine  palace." 

It  is  impossible  to  say  what  Mr.  Montagu  expended  in  decoration 
and  building,  apart  from  the  furniture,  pictures,  &c.,  on  Montagu  House  ; 
but  on  the  back  of  a  list  of  charges  made  by  Verrio  for  work  done  at 
Windsor,  is  written  :  "  More  from  Mr.  Montagu  of  London  .  .  .  ;^8oo  "  ; 
which  obviously  refers  to  frescoes  executed  at  Montagu  House. 

The  house  seems  for  a  time  to  have  been  let  to  the  fourth  Earl  of 
Devonshire,  who  had  only  recently  succeeded  to  the  title  (November  25, 
1684),  and  was  afterwards  created  a  duke,  in  1694 ;  and  he  appears 
to  have  been  paying  500  guineas  a  year  for  it,  when  in  the  early  hours 
of  Wednesday  morning,  January  19,  1686,  the  disastrous  fire  occurred 
here  which  practically  destroyed  everything.  A  contemporary  letter  * 
thus  records  the  cause  of  the  unfortunate  event :  "  On  Wednesday, 
at  one  in  the  morning,  a  sad  fire  happened  at  Montagu  House  in  Blooms- 
bury,  occasioned  by  the  steward's  airing  some  hangings,  &c.,  in  expecta- 
tion of  my  Lord  Montagu's  return  home,  and  sending  afterwards  a  woman 
to  see  that  the  fire-pans  with  charcoal  were  removed,  which  she  told 
him  she  had  done,  though  she  never  came  there.  The  loss  that  my 
Lord  Montagu  has  sustained  by  this  accident  is  estimated  at  ^40,000, 
besides  ;^6ooo  in  plate  ;  and  my  Lord  Devonshire's  loss  in  pictures, 
hangings,  and  other  furniture,  is  very  considerable."  Evelyn  recording 
the  fire  says  that  "  for  painting  and  furniture  there  was  nothing  more 
glorious  in  England,"  than  what  was  contained  in  Lord  Montagu's  palace. 

Its  owner  appears  to  have  lost  no  time  in  rebuilding  the  house, 
the  architect  on  this  occasion  being  Peter  Paul  Puget,'  or  Monsieur 
Pouget,  as  Walpole  terms  him,  who  appears  to  have  been  sent  for  from 
his  native  France,  to  prepare  designs  for  a  new  mansion.  Walpole, 
who  allots  just  five  lines  to  this  architect  whose  Christian  name  he 
evidently  did  not  know,  speaks  of  him  as  conducting  the  building  of 
Montagu  House  in  1678,  perhaps  merely  a  clerical  error  by  the  inversion 
of  the  last  two  figures.  The  new  design  after  the  French  style,  apparently 
followed  out  the  lines  of  the  earlier  house,  the  new  palace  being  built 

•  He  means,  of  course,  farther  back  from  the  main  street. 

^  Ellis  Correspondence,  2nd  series,  vol.  iv.  p.  89.     See  also  an  interesting  reference  to  this 
event  in  The  Autobiography  of  Sir  John  Bramston. 
'  He  is  sometimes  called  Pierre  Puget  or  Poughet. 


84     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

on  the  original  foundations,  so  that  its  extent  was  probably  identical 
with  that  of  its  predecessor. 

Even  Lord  Montagu's  large  resources  must  have  been  strained,  when 
we  consider  the  great  loss  he  had  sustained  and  the  vast  expense  of  the 
new  house  ;  especially  when  we  remember,  too,  that  a  number  of  French 
artists  were  employed  to  do  what  Verrio  had  done  before.  Of  these 
the  principal  were  Jacques  Rousseau,  Charles  de  la  Fosse,  and  Jean  Baptiste 
Monnoyer,'  who  were  all  employed  on  the  work  of  beautifying  the  place. 

Rousseau  received  ;^i50o  for  what  he  did,  besides  which  Lord  Montagu 
allowed  him  an  annuity  of  ;^200  which  he  enjoyed  but  two  years  ;  and 
as  he  died  in  Soho  Square,  in  1694,  ^^  shows  that  he  was  continued  on 
at  Montagu  House  long  after  it  was  completed.  Among  La  Fosse's 
work  here  were  two  ceilings,  one  representing  the  "  Apotheosis  of  Isis," 
the  other  an  "  Assembly  of  the  Gods."  * 

Although  Lord  Montagu  did  not  fill  the  high  place  occupied  by  a 
Prime  Minister  which  seems  invariably  to  attract  the  fierce  light  which 
blackens  every  blot,  yet  his  connection  with  the  Court  of  France  in  his 
ambassadorial  capacity,  and  his  exclusive  patronage  of  French  artists, 
laid  him  open  to  the  charge  that  his  new  house  was  built  with  money 
received  from  the  French  king  ! — one  of  those  popular  fallacies  of  which 
the  eighteenth  century  contributed  several  examples  ;  indeed  the  writer 
of  Ackermann's  Microcosm  of  London  seriously  repeats  this,  and  further 
states  that  Louis  sent  over  the  French  artists  to  decorate  the  new  house, 
as  Lord  Montagu's  spirits  had  become  so  greatly  depressed  by  the  loss 
of  the  earlier  mansion,  he  being  at  the  time  of  the  fire  Ambassador 
in  Paris.  Taylor,  on  the  other  hand,  gives  this  version  of  the  matter  : 
"  When  the  Duke  of  Montagu  was  Ambassador  at  Paris,  he  changed 
Hotels  with  the  French  Ambassador,  who  was  sent  to  England,  and 
during  his  residence  the  first  Montagu  House  was  destroyed  by  fire. 
It  was  agreed  between  them  that  the  Court  of  France  should  supply 
half  the  expenses  of  rebuilding,  upon  the  condition  that  a  French  architect 
and  painter  should  be  employed.  The  object  avowed  was  to  teach  the 
English  how  a  perfect  palace  should  be  constructed  and  embellished." 
Which  tale  is  very  neatly  constructed  ;  but  what  becomes  of  the  Duke 
of  Devonshire,  who  is  known  to  have  been  renting  the  place  ?  L^nless 
indeed,  the  low  rent  he  paid,  ^500  per  annum,  was  fixed  on  the  under- 
standing that  the  French  Ambassador  should  occupy  a  portion  of  the 
great  house. 

Ralph,  in  his  Critical  Review,  of  course  has  some  fault  to  find  with 

'  There  are  a  number  of  his  pictures  still  in  Montagu  House,  Whitehall,  as  we  shall  see. 
'  Walpole's  Anecdotes. 


MONTAGU     HOUSE  85 

the  new  building,  but  as,  apparently,  he  was  rather  baffled  over  the  main 
portion,  he  falls  foul  of  the  brick  wall  which  hid  the  mansion  from  public 
view  so  that  it  could  only  be  seen  from  within  the  vast  courtyard  ; 
Evelyn,  we  remember,  found  fault  with  the  former  mansion  because  it 
was  overlooked  !  On  the  whole,  however,  the  praise  outweighs  the 
depreciation,  and  M.  Grosley,  the  French  traveller  who  came  to  these 
shores  many  years  later,  writes  that  "  Vhotel  Montaigu  merite  une  dis- 
tinction farticuliere.  Par  son  etendue,  far  ses  distributions,  far  la  mag- 
nificence de  ses  ornemens,  par  V agrhnent  de  sa  position,  il  a.  plus  Vair  d'une 
maison  royale  que  de  Vhotel  d'un  particulier."  ^ 

There  were  twelve  principal  rooms  on  the  ground  floor,  and  the  same 
number  on  the  first  floor,  and  all  these  were  of  vast  size  and  height,  and 
admirably  lighted,  fully  bearing  out  what  Walpole  says  of  "  the  spacious 
lofty  magnificence  of  the  apartments  "  ;  half  of  them  overlooking  the 
courtyard,  and  as  many  enjoying  the  prospect  over  the  gardens,  and  the 
open  fields  beyond. 

The  curious  may  see  a  ground  plan  of  the  house  which  is  contained 
in  Dodsley's  Environs  of  London,  published  in  1761  ;  while  Pugin  and 
Britton,  in  their  Public  Edifices  of  London,  1823,  also  give  one.  The 
noble  staircase,  with  its  mural  paintings,  is  admirably  represented  in 
Ackermann's  Microcosm  of  London,  and  gives  a  better  idea  of  how  the 
interior  of  one  of  these  old  private  palaces  looked  than  any  other  drawing 
with  which  I  am  familiar. 

The  Duke  of  Montagu  died  in  1709,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  son 
Sir  John  Montagu  as  second  Duke  ;  but  he  also  left  behind  him  his 
eccentric  second  wife,  who  had  married  him  as  Emperor  of  China,  she 
being  quite  mad  at  the  time  ;  why  his  Grace  married  her  at  all  is  one 
of  those  mysteries  at  which  imagination  boggles.  The  Duchess  was 
kept  in  her  apartment  on  the  ground  floor  at  Montagu  House,  during 
the  life  of  her  husband,  and  was  then,  and  afterwards  till  her  death, 
served  on  the  knee  presumably  as  Empress  of  the  Celestial  Empire  ;  ^ 
but  on  his  Grace's  death  there  seems  to  have  been  some  question  as  to 
who  was  to  have  the  care  of  her.  The  second  Duke  was  her  stepson, 
and  therefore  I  suppose  did  not  consider  himself  responsible  for  her  safe 
keeping  ;  and  by  a  letter  of  Peter  Wentworth  to  his  brother,  dated 
March  15,  1709,  it  would  seem  that  his  wife  was  as  firm.'  In  any 
case  there  was  much  difficulty  in  persuading  the  old  lady  to  give  up  the 

'  Londrfs,  vol.  i.  p.  59. 

'  She  died  at  Newcastle  House,  Clerkenwell,  in  1734,  where  we  have  met  with  her. 
^  See  the   W'cntworth  Papers,  where  there  is  a  letter  in  French,  of  the  same  date,  with 
further  details  of  this  curious  case. 


86     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

house  to  its  new  and  rightful  owners,  and  her  sisters  the  Duchess  of 
Newcastle  and  Lady  Thanet  we  read  "  aUerent  rendre  visits  a  la  Duchesse 
Douairiere  de  Montaigne,  leur  soer,  et  tacherent  inutilement  de  lui  persuader 
de  sortir  de  la  maison  de  ce  Due,  ou  elle  a  He  rerifermee  de-puts  tant  d'annies." 
However,  she  was  at  length  taken  to  Newcastle  House,  and  Montagu 
House  and  its  Empress  were  parted.  Colley  Gibber  wrote  a  scene,  in 
his  Sick  Lady  Cured,  inspired  by  the  imperial  pretensions  of  the  mad 
Duchess. 

In  those  days  of  footpads  and  highwaymen  even  a  duke  could  hardly 
traverse  the  town  from  the  neighbourhood  of  Westminster  to  that  of 
St.  Giles  with  impunity,  and  it  was  probably  this  that  caused,  about  1732, 
the  second  Duke  to  commence  building  a  new  house  in  Whitehall  where 
he  eventually  took  up  his  permanent  abode,  whereupon  old  Montagu 
House  remained  for  some  years  empty  and  neglected,  and  at  last  coming 
into  the  hands  of  Lord  Halifax,  that  nobleman  sold  it  to  the  Government, 
in  1754,  for  _^io,250,  for  the  purpose  of  a  national  repository  for  the  various 
fine  collections  which  Sir  Hans  Sloane  had  bequeathed  to  the  country  and 
which  formed  the  nucleus  of  the  British  Museum  ^  as  we  know  it  to-day. 
At  the  time  of  its  acquisition  by  Parliament,  the  old  house  had  become 
very  dilapidated  ;  indeed  in  so  ruinous  a  condition  was  it  found  to  be, 
that  much  more  was  spent  on  its  repair  than  on  its  purchase,  nearly 
^30,000  being  found  requisite  to  put  it  in  a  satisfactory  state. 

The  materials  were  disposed  of  by  auction,  and  such  portions  of  the 
painted  walls  and  ceilings  as  could  be  removed  were  sold  for  ridiculous 
sums — one  of  La  Fosse's  deities  for  half-a-crown,  and  a  bunch  of  Monnoyer's 
flowers  for  eighteenpence." 

It  is  outside  my  scheme  to  follow  the  destinies  of  Montagu  House 
after  it  ceased  to  be  a  private  palace,  but  I  may  mention  that  various 
additions  were  made  to  the  original  structure  to  fit  it  for  its  new  uses, 
and  to  cope  with  the  rapidly  increasing  number  and  importance  of  its 
contents,  till,  in  1820,  the  present  structure  was  commenced,  behind 
the  old  house,  and  the  valuable  contents  were  removed  gradually  into 
the  new  building  ;  similarly,  says  Timbs,  "  the  principal  front  took  the 
place  of  the  old  Montagu  House  fa9ade,  which  was  removed  piecemeal ; 
and  strange  it  was  to  see  the  lofty  pitched  roof,  balustraded  attic,  and 
large-windowed  front  of  '  the  French  manner,'  giving  way  to  the  Grecian 
architecture  of  Sir  Robert  Smirke's  new  design." 

An  excellent  view  of  the  back  of  old  Montagu  House  is  given  in  a 

'  The  present  buildings  were  completed  in  1847  ;  two  years  previously  the  last  remains  of 
the  old  Montagu  House  had  disappeared. 
-  Timbs,  Romance  0/ London. 


MONTAGU    HOUSE  87 

print  entitled  "  Encampment  of  troops  in  the  gardens  of  the  British 
Museum  at  the  time  of  the  Gordon  Riots,  1780."  Into  these  gardens, 
on  this  occasion,  Lord  and  Lady  Mansfield  escaped  by  a  back  gate  when 
the  mob  attacked  and  ransacked  their  house  in  Bloomsbury  Square.' 

The  fields  behind  the  gardens  require  a  word,  for  they  were,  from 
towards  the  end  of  the  seventeenth  century  till  the  middle  of  the 
eighteenth,  the  favourite  place  for  duels  ;  the  plays,  novels,  and  the  pages 
of  the  daily  press  containing  many  references  to  encounters  "  behind 
Montagu  House."  ^  One  of  the  most  notable  of  these  was  that  which 
took  place  in  1692,  between  Charles  KnoUys,  who  claimed  to  be  fourth 
Earl  of  Banbury,  and  his  brother-in-law.  Captain  Lawson  of  the  Guards, 
in  which  the  latter  was  killed,  and  the  former  arraigned  for  murder. 
He  was  tried  before  Lord  Justice  Hall  and  two  other  judges,  and  when 
accused  of  the  crime  as  Charles  KnoUys,  he  replied  that  he  was  not 
Charles  KnoUys  but  Earl  of  Banbury,  a  plea  which  was  allowed  by  the 
judges,  and  through  which  technicality  he  escaped  the  extreme  penalty  of 
the  law.  The  House  of  Lords  had,  however,  on  the  vexed  question  of 
this  peerage  decided  that  KnoUys  was  not  Earl  of  Banbury,  and  so  furious 
were  the  peers  with  the  judges  for  tacitly  acknowledging  his  right  to 
the  title,  that  they  summoned  them  to  the  bar  of  the  House,  but  were 
unable  to  make  them  alter  their  decision.  The  whole  matter  of  the 
celebrated  Banbury  peerage  case  cannot  of  course  be  entered  into  here, 
but  I  would  remind  the  reader  that  the  question  has  never  yet  been 
settled,  and  that  the  title  bestowed  some  years  since  on  Sir  Francis  KnoUys 
is  an  entirely  new  creation,  and  in  no  sense  a  re-creation  of  the  original 
peerage  which  Captain  Edmund  KnoUys,  the  head  of  the  family,  still 
claims.' 

A  portion  of  the  open  ground  behind  Montagu  House  was  known 
as  "  The  Field  of  Forty  Footsteps,"  or  "  The  Brothers'  Steps,"  on  account 
of  a  desperate  encounter  between  two  brothers,  rivals  for  the  affections  of 
a  young  lady  who  is  said  to  have  watched  the  fray.  As  they  struggled 
together  they  are  reported  to  have  left  these  marks  on  the  ground,  on  which 
subsequently  the  grass  was  believed  never  to  grow.  J.  T.  Smith  records 
the  incident  in  his  Book  for  a  Rainy  Day,  and  the  legend  has  been  dealt 
with  by  several  writers;  and  has  supplied  the  motif  for  at  least  one  novel. 
Torrington  Square  occupies  the  site  of  this  portion  of  the  fields,  over 
which  the  windows  of  Montagu  House  looked.     One  other  circumstance 

'  See  the  author's  History  of  the  Squares  of  London. 

'  Readers  of  Roderick  Random  will  remember  that  Rourke  Oregan  waited  there,  "with  a 
pair  of  good  pistols"  while  Strap  conducted  the  guard  to  the  same  locality. 

"  The  details  of  Lord  Banbury's  trial,  which  seems  to  have  extended  over  five  years,  will 
be  found  in  the  Diary  of  Narcissus  XmIxx^W,  passim. 


88     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

connected  with  these  meadows  deserves  notice,  which  I  will  give  in  the 
ipsissima  verba  of  Aubrey,  the  antiquary,  who  narrates  it  :  "  The  last 
summer,  on  the  day  of  St.  John  the  Baptist  (1694),  I  accidentally  was 
walking  in  the  pasture  behind  Montagu  House  ;  it  was  twelve  o'clock.  I 
saw  there  about  two  or  three  and  twenty  young  women,  most  of  them 
well  habited,  on  their  knees  very  busie,  as  if  they  had  been  weeding.  I 
could  not  presently  hear  what  the  matter  was  ;  at  last  a  young  man 
told  me  they  were  looking  for  a  coal  under  the  root  of  a  plantain  to  put 
under  their  heads  that  night,  and  they  should  dream  who  would  be  their 
husbands.     It  was  to  be  found  that  day  and  hour."  ^ 

SOUTHAMPTON  or  BEDFORD  HOUSE 

Adjoining  the  grounds  of  Montagu  House  on  the  east  once  stood 
Southampton  or,  as  it  was  afterwards  called,  Bedford  House.  Morden 
and  Lea's  plan  to  which  I  have  before  referred,  shows  that  its  grounds 
covered  almost  as  large  an  area  as  those  of  Montagu  House,  and  if  the 
mansion  was  not  so  large  as  its  neighbour,  it  had  this  advantage,  that 
it  was  set  farther  back  from  the  road,  as  Evelyn  said  Montagu  House 
should  have  been.  As,  also,  in  the  case  of  Montagu  House,  two  mansions 
successively  stood  here,  where  Bedford  Place  now  runs,  the  former  of 
which  was  the  original  manor-house  of  Bloomsbury,  the  seat  of  the 
Blemunds  who  gave  their  name  to  this  district,  which  in  those  far-off 
times  must  have  been  as  countrified  as  Harrow  and  a  good  deal  more  rural 
than  Hampstead. 

In  Agas's  plan  of  London,  dated  1591,  and  in  the  earlier  plan  of  1560, 
old  Southampton  House  is  shown  standing  by  itself  among  the  fields. 
I  have  said  something  of  this  earlier  structure  in  the  first  chapter,  and 
from  a  careful  comparison  of  old  plans,  &c.,  I  have  come  to  the  conclusion 
that  the  original  house  stood  to  the  south  of  the  later  mansion,  probably 
about  the  south  side  of  the  present  Bloomsbury  Square  where  Southampton 
Street  runs.'' 

As  we  have  seen,'  there  had  once  been  a  design  to  pull  down  the  old 
house  and  to  erect  tenements  on  Its  site,  which,  however,  came  to  nothing  ; 
and  it  was  not  till  the  reign  of  Charles  II.  that  the  latter  palace  was 
erected.  In  what  year  this  actually  took  place  is  a  little  doubtful,  but 
in  any   case,  those  who  attribute  the  work  to  Inigo  Jones  are  incorrect, 

'  Miscellanies.  Brand  in  his  Popular  Antiquities  records,  much  later,  a  somewhat  similar 
superstition. 

-  The  first  Earl  of  Southampton  obtained  possession  of  the  manor  in  the  reign  of 
Henry  VIII. 

^  Chap.  i.  p.  20. 


SOUTHAMPTON    HOUSE  89 

for  that  great  architect  died  in  1652,  and  certainly  Southampton  House 
was  not  erected  till  some  years  after  that  date.  As,  however,  the  eleva- 
tions show  some  signs  of  his  influence,  it  is  probable  that  his  pupil,  and 
son-in-law,  John  Webb,  was  responsible  for  it. 

Few  of  the  exteriors  of  the  former  great  houses  of  London  are  better 
known  than  that  of  Southampton  House,  for  there  are  a  number  of  views 
of  it  extant,  that  which  is  here  reproduced  being  one  of  the  best.  By  it 
one  can  see  how  imposing  and  even  splendid  was  the  building,  and  how 
extended  its  front,  but  what  can  also  be  seen  is  that  Evelyn's  criticism  that  its 
elevation  was  too  low  is  a  cogent  one,  and  there  is  no  doubt  but  that 
another  attic  storey  would  have  vastly  improved  its  appearance. 

When  the  Diarist  dined  with  Lord  Southampton  here,  the  latter 
was  busy  forming  that  "  noble  square  or  Piazza,  a  little  towne,"  which 
Evelyn  mentions  and  which  we  now  know  as  Bloomsbury  Square  ;  and 
by  the  development  of  which  the  amenities  of  Southampton  House 
were  greatly  enhanced.  Contemporary  criticism  on  the  mansion  is  nearly 
always  favourable,  and  foreigners  particularly  were  struck  with  the  solid 
grandeur  of  the  pile,  De  Saussure  considering  it  one  of  the  finest  private 
houses  in  London,  and  Grosley  placing  it  second  among  the  four  which 
he  thought  alone  comparable  to  the  great  hotels  of  Paris. 

As  in  the  case  of  so  many  of  these  old  London  houses,  the  gardens 
attached  to  Southampton  House  were  no  less  a  feature  than  the  mansion 
itself,  and  some  idea  of  their  extent  may  be  gained  when  we  remember 
that  in  breadth  they  were  double  the  frontage  of  the  house  which  itself 
occupied  the  whole  of  the  north  side  of  Bloomsbury  Square,  and  that 
they  reached  north  nearly  to  the  centre  of  what  is  now  Russell  Square. 

Dobie,  the  historian  of  Bloomsbury,  writing  in  1834,  speaks  of  dis- 
tinctly recollecting  "  the  venerable  grandeur  "  of  the  mansion  "  shaded 
with  a  thick  foliage  of  magnificent  lime  trees  " ;  and  he  records  that  "  the 
fine  verdant  lawn  extended  a  considerable  distance  between  these,  and 
was  guarded  by  a  deep  ravine  to  the  north,  from  the  intrusive  steps  of 
the  daring,  whilst  in  perfect  safety  were  grazing  various  breeds  of  foreign 
and  other  sheep,  which  from  their  singular  appearance  excited  the  gaze 
and  admiration  of  the  curious."  There  were,  too,  a  number  of  trees  in  the 
front  of  the  house,  among  which  the  graceful  acacia  *  was  once  to  be  seen, 
as  well  as  the  limes  already  mentioned,  which  must  have  been  those  that 
Sorbiere  in  his  Voyage  en  Angleterre  speaks  of,  when  he  says  "  on  voit 
les  arbres  du  Palais  de  Bethfordt  -par  dessus  la  muraille.^'  This  wall  was 
also  a  feature  of  the  building,  and  Letitia  Hawkins,  in  her  Memoirs,  men- 
tions "  The  wall  before  Bedford  House,  a  wall  of  singular  beauty  and 

'  Walpole's  Essay  on  Gardening. 


90     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES    OF    LONDON 

elegance  which  extended  on  the  north  side  of  Bloomsbury  Square  from 
east  to  west,  and  the  gates  of  which  were  decorated  with  those  lovely 
monsters,  sphinxes,  very  finely  carved  "  ;  while  she  also  speaks  of  the 
house  as  being  "  a  long,  low  white  edifice,  kept,  in  the  old  Duke's  time,^ 
in  the  nicest  state  of  good  order,  and  admirably  in  unison  with  the  snow- 
white  livery  of  the  family.  It  had  noble  apartments  and  a  spacious 
garden,  which  opened  to  the  fields  ;  and  the  uninterrupted  freedom 
of  air,  between  this  situation  and  the  distant  hills,  gave  it  the  advantages 
of  an  excellent  town  house  and  a  suburban  viUa." 

Evelyn,  in  1665,  had  noted  the  excellence  of  the  air  ;  but  at  that 
time  the  ground  had  not  been  properly  matured,  and  he  had  to  confess 
that  the  garden  was  "  naked." 

The  fields  referred  to  by  Miss  Hawkins  as  bounding  the  property 
on  the  north,  shared,  in  the  seventeenth,  and  for  a  considerable  period 
of  the  eighteenth,  century,  the  bad  reputation  of  those  contingent  ones 
behind  Montagu  House,  as  a  place  for  duels.  Mountfort,  the  actor, 
a  victim  in  one  such  encounter,  mentions  the  fact  in  the  epilogue  to 
his  Greenwich  Park,  and  the  pages  of  Luttrell  and  other  contemporary 
writers  will  be  found  to  contain  frequent  references  to  this  spot  as  a  chosen 
place  for  men  of  quality  to  settle  their,  sometimes  extraordinarily  trivial, 
differences  ;  the  isolated  position  of  the  ground  and  the  very  primitive 
methods  of  policing  the  capital  then  in  vogue,  insuring  a  maximum  of 
privacy,  and  a  minimum  of  risk  of  apprehension  to  the  victor. 

Southampton  House  passed  to  the  Russell  family  in  this  wise.  Its 
builder,  the  fourth  Earl  of  Southampton,  one  of  the  most  loyal  adherents 
of  Charles  I.,  who,  luckier  than  many,  neither  lost  his  life  nor  the  whole 
of  his  fortune  in  the  service  of  his  master,  died  in  the  mansion,  on  May  16, 
1667  ;  but  although  he  had  been  married  three  times,  he  left  no  male 
heir  to  succeed  him,  and  the  property  passed  to  his  daughter.  Lady 
Rachel  Wriothesley,  who  had  married,  in  1669,  William,  Lord  Russell,^ 
son  of  the  first  Duke  of  Bedford,  and  thus  became  the  Lady  Rachel 
Russell,  so  well  known  for  her  charm,  abilities,  and  sad  fortunes.^ 

William,  Lord   Russell  and  Lady  Rachel  resided  at   Bedford  House, 

'  The  fifth  Duke  of  Bedford,  born  1760,  died  1802. 

'  She  had  been  previously  married  to  Lord  Vaughan,  eldest  son  of  the  Earl  of  Carberry. 

^  William,  Lord  Russell,  is  often  spoken  of  as  Lord  William  Russell,  and  as  he  was  the 
younger  son  of  the  Duke,  this  is  not  incorrect  ;  but  his  elder  brother  predeceasing  him,  he  was 
known  by  the  courtesy  title  of  Lord  Russell,  the  second  title  of  Marquis  of  Titchfield  not  being 
used  until  borne  by  Lord  Russell's  son  when  he  became  heir  to  the  dukedom.  Similarly  Lady 
Rachel  Russell  is  the  correct  designation  of  this  lady,  as  she  was  the  daughter  of  an  earl,  and 
married  one  who  only  bore  a  courtesy  title.  Of  such  are  the  titular  intricacies  that  trouble 
foreigners. 


BEDFORD    HOUSE  91 

as  it  now  began  to  be  called,^  and  he  was  here  at  the  time  the  charges 
for  high  treason  were  brought  against  him,  when  a  message  from  the 
Council  ordered  a  guard  to  be  set  at  the  gate  to  stop  him  if  he  attempted 
to  leave  his  residence ;  the  baclc  entrance,  however,  was  not  watched,  so 
that  had  he  chosen  he  might  have  escaped  that  way,  but  such  a  course 
would  have  been  in  his  opinion  and  that  of  his  friends  too  much  like  a 
confession  of  guilt,  and  he  remained  until  he  was  taken  to  the  Tower. 

All  the  world  knows  the  story  of  that  famous  trial.  Few  things  are 
so  pathetic  as  the  spectacle  of  the  innocent  gentleman  defended  by  his 
noble  wife  with  all  the  acumen  of  a  professional  advocate  and  the  ardour 
of  a  deep  affection  ;  two  lambs  trying  to  save  an  already  judged  cause, 
against  the  brutal  Jeffreys,  whose  character  refuses  to  be  whitewashed, 
the  offensive  Saunders,  Pemberton  the  whilom  rake  and  debauche, 
and  Scroggs,  the  butcher's  son.  What  could  avail  before  such  a  tribunal  ! 
how  could  truth  hope  to  conquer  against  men  whose  instincts  and  pre- 
judices made  them  only  too  ready  to  accept  the  evidence  of  perjured 
wretches  like  Rumsey  and  Howard  of  Escrick  ! 

When  the  result  of  the  trial  was  known,  James  Duke  of  York,  if  it  can 
be  believed,  proposed  that,  as  an  additional  ignominy,  Lord  Russell  should 
be  beheaded  before  the  very  windows  of  Bedford  House  ;  but  to  his  credit, 
Charles,  who  with  all  his  faults  cannot  be  compared  with  his  brother  for 
spite  and  cowardice,  would  not  consent  to  such  a  refinement  of  cruelty, 
and  the  last  sad  scene  took  place  in  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields.  On  the  way 
there,  the  cortege  passed  Bedford  House,  and  Burnet  tells  how,  as  the 
victim  looked  for  a  moment  at  his  once  happy  home,  his  fortitude  almost 
deserted  him  ;  but  suppressing  his  emotion  he  exclaimed,  "  The  bitterness 
of  death  is  now  passed,"  and  Tillotson,  who  accompanied  him,  saw  some 
tears  fall  from  his  eyes. 

This  judicial  murder  took  place  in  1683,  and  after  it  Lady  Rachel 
continued  to  reside  in  what  she  pathetically  terms  "  that  desolate 
habitation  of  mine  ...  a  place  of  terror  to  me,"  till  her  death  there, 
in  1723. 

In  the  meantime  her  son  had  succeeded  to  the  Dukedom  of  Bedford 
in  1700,  and  resided  here  with  her.  He  was  but  six  years  old  when  the 
great  fire  at  Montagu  House  took  place,  and  is  referred  to  in  Lady 
Rachel's  account  of  the  disaster  which  she  wrote  to  Dr.  Fitzwilliam,  a 
few  days  after  the  event,  in  these  words  :  "  If  you  have  heard  of  the 
dismal  accident  in  this  neighbourhood  you  will  easily  believe  that 
Tuesday  night  was  not  a  quiet  one  with  us.      About  one  o'clock  in  the 

'  One  of  Lady  Rachel's  letters  is  dated  Russell  House,  showing  that  for  a  time  at  least  it 
was  so  termed. 


92     THE   PRIVATE    PALACES    OF   LONDON 

night  I  heard  a  great  noise  in  the  Square,  so  little  ordinary,  I  called 
up  a  servant,  and  sent  her  down  to  hear  the  occasion ;  she  brought  up 
a  very  sad  one,  that  Montagu  House  was  on  fire ;  and  it  was  so  indeed ; 
it  burnt  with  so  great  violence,  the  house  was  consumed  by  five  o'clock. 
The  wind  blew  strong  this  way,  so  that  we  lay  under  fire  a  great  part 
of  the  time,  the  sparks  and  flames  covering  the  house  and  filling  the 
court.  My  boy  awoke  and  said  he  was  almost  suffocated  with  smoke, 
but  being  told  the  reason,  would  see  it,  and  so  was  satisfied  without  fear  ; 
and  took  a  strange  bedfellow  very  willingly,  Lady  Devonshire's  youngest 
boy,  whom  his  nurse  had  brought  wrapt  in  a  blanket.  Thus  we  see 
what  a  day  brings  forth,  and  how  momentary  the  things  are  we  set  our 
hearts  upon." 

The  boy  mentioned  here,  who  became,  as  I  have  said,  Duke  of  Bedford 
in  1700,  married,  in  1695,  Elizabeth,  daughter  and  heiress  of  John  Rowland 
of  Streatham,  and  died  in  171 1,  when  he  was  succeeded  by  his  son  as 
third  Duke,  and  he,  in  turn,  in  1732,  by  his  brother — "  the  little  Duke," 
as  Walpole  calls  him,  against  whom  Junius  poured  forth  the  vials  of  his 
rhetorical  anger  and  abuse. 

Under  the  regime  of  this  holder  of  the  title,  Bedford  House  seems 
to  have  entered  on  a  period  of  greater  gaiety  than  had  before  charac- 
terised it ;  and  we  read,  inter  alia,  of  a  great  masquerade  given  here  by 
the  Duke  in  1748,  which  was  graced  by  the  presence  of  the  King  and 
the  Duke  of  Cumberland,  and  which  is  said  to  have  been  the  most  gorgeous 
masked  ball  ever  given  up  to  that  time.  Walpole  records  two  other  balls 
at  Bedford  House,  at  a  later  date  ;  one  in  May  1755,  about  which, 
writing  to  Bentley,  he  says  :  "  The  night  the  King  went  (to  Hanover) 
there  was  a  magnificent  ball  and  supper  at  Bedford  House.  The  Duke  ^ 
was  there  :  he  was  playing  at  hazard  with  a  great  heap  of  gold  before 
him  :  somebody  said,  he  looked  like  the  prodigal  son  and  the  fatted 
calf  both.     In  the  dessert  was  a    model  of  Walton  Bridge  in  glass." 

The  other  great  entertainment  mentioned  by  Walpole  occurred  four 
years  later,  and,  writing  on  April  26,  1759,  to  George  Montagu,  he 
gives  some  details  of  it  thus  :  "  The  ball  at  Bedford  House  on  Monday 
was  very  numerous  and  magnificent.  The  two  princes  were  there,  deep 
hazard,  and  the  Dutch  deputies  who  are  a  proverb  for  their  dullness. 
.  .  .  But  the  delightful  part  of  the  night  was  the  appearance  of  the 
Duke  of  Newcastle.  .  .  .  The  Duchess  (of  Bedford)  was  at  the  very 
upper  end  of  the  gallery  .  .  .  and  Newcastle  had  nobody  to  attend  him 
but  Sir  Edward  Montagu,  who  kept  pushing  him  all  up  the  gallery. 
From  thence  he  went  into  the  hazard-room,  and  wriggled  and  shuflfled, 

'  The  Duke  of  Cumberland. 


BEDFORD    HOUSE 


93 


and  lisped  and  winked,  and  spied,  till  he  got  behind  the  D.  of  Cum- 
berland, the  D.  of  Bedford  and  Rigley." 

Besides  these  splendid  indoor  receptions,  for  which  Bedford  House 
became,  at  this  period,  famous,  the  Duchess  was  fond  of  giving  al  fresco 
entertainments,  for  which  the  grounds  of  the  mansion  were  admirably- 
adapted  ;  and  on  one  occasion  her  Grace  sent  out  cards  to  her  friends 
"  to  take  tea  and  walk  in  the  fields  "  !  This  lady  was  the  Duke's  second 
wife,  whom  he  married  in  1737.'^ 

The  Duke,  who  had  filled  in  his  time  a  number  of  great  offices  in 
connection  with  his  administration,  of  which  Junius  fell  foul  of  him, 
died  in  1771,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  grandson,  Francis  Russell,  who  was 
the  last  Duke  to  occupy  Bedford  House ;  for  two  years  before  his  death, 
which  occurred  in  1802,  he  disposed  of  the  property.  On  May  7, 
1800,^  was  commenced  here  by  Mr.  Christie,  the  sale  of  the  contents 
of  the  great  house,  the  materials  of  which  alone  fetched  between  ;^5000 
and  j^6ooo,  and  the  names  of  some  of  the  pictures,  with  the  prices  they 
realised,  have  happily  been  preserved.  Thus  the  copies  of  Raphael's 
cartoons,  by  Sir  James  Thornhill,  which  the  Duke  had  placed  in  a  gallery 
specially  constructed  to  receive  them,  and  for  which  he  had  paid  at  the 
sale  of  the  artist's  collection  but  ;^200,  were  purchased  by  the  Duke  of 
Norfolk  for  £^z,o  ;  Raphael's  "  St.  John  Preaching  in  the  Wilderness  " 
went  for  the  absurd  sum  of  95  guineas  ;  and  the  representation  of  the 
"  Archduke  Leopold's  Gallery  "  by  Teniers,  for  210  guineas.  A  painting 
of  an  Italian  villa,  by  Gainsborough,  fetched  90  guineas  ;  a  landscape  by 
Cuyp,  200  guineas  ;  and  a  set  of  four  battle  pieces  by  Cassanovi,  only 
realised  15  guineas  each,  although  they  had  cost  the  Duke  more  than 
sixteen  times  that  amount.  There  was  also  included  in  the  sale  a  picture 
of  peculiar  interest,  depicting  the  famous  duel,  in  Hyde  Park,  between 
the  Duke  of  Hamilton  and  Lord  Mohun ;  while  some  pieces  of  sculpture 
were  also  disposed  of,  notably  a  Venus  de  Medicis  and  an  Antinous 
in  bronze,  which  went  for  20  guineas ;  and  what  is  described  as  a 
"  Venus  couchant,  from  the  antique,"  which  fetched  a  similar  amount. 
The  account  of  the  sale  is  to  be  seen  in  the  Annual  Register  of  the  day, 
the  writer  of  which  adds  that :  "  The  week  after,  were  sold  the  double 
rows  of  lime  trees  in  the  garden,  valued  one  at  ^90  the  other  at  ^80  ; 
which  are  now  all  taken  down,  and  the  site  of  a  new  square,  of  nearly 
the  dimensions  of  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields,  and  to  be  called  Russell  Square, 

'  The  first  was  Lady  Diana  Spencer,  daughter  of  Charles,  third  Earl  of  Sunderland  ;  she  died 
in  1734  ;  the  second,  Lady  Gertrude  Leveson-Gower,  daughter  of  John,  Earl  Gower. 

'  In  Mr.  George  Redford's  History  of  Art  Sa/es,  two  sales  of  pictures  belonging  to  this 
Duke  are  mentioned  ;  one  in  May  1796,  and  that  referred  to  in  the  text,  but  no  details  are 
given. 


94     THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF  LONDON 

has  been  laid  out.  The  famous  statue  of  Apollo,  which  was  in  the  hall 
at  Bedford  House,  has  been  removed  to  Woburn  Abbey  ...  it  originally 
cost  looo  guineas." 

The  reasons  that  induced  the  Duke  of  Bedford  to  give  up  so  fine 
a  mansion  as  Bedford  House  are  not  very  obvious.  Society  had  not 
as  yet  migrated  so  completely  to  the  further  west  as  to  leave  the  place 
in  an  isolated  position  ;  nor  had  the  house  been  allowed  to  get  into  such 
a  state  of  disrepair  as  would  have  made  its  reparation  as  costly  as  the 
erection  of  a  new  residence.  We  know  indeed  that  when,  about  1757, 
the  new  road  from  Paddington  to  Islington,  now  the  Marylebone  and 
Euston  Roads,  was  proposed,  the  fourth  Duke  strenuously  opposed  it, 
because,  says  Walpole,  "  of  the  dust  it  v/ill  make  behind  Bedford  House, 
and  also  on  account  of  "  some  buildings  proposed,"  "  though  if  he  were  in 
town,"  adds  Walpole,  who  remarks  that  in  summer  he  never  was,  "  he 
is  too  short-sighted  to  see  the  prospect  "  ;  and  it  may  possibly  have  been 
that  the  inconvenience  foreseen  by  the  Duke  was  ultimately  responsible 
for  his  successor  giving  up  the  house. 

It  is  interesting  to  know  that  just  as  Montagu  House  had  once  been 
in  danger  of  demohtion  by  the  fury  of  the  Gordon  Rioters,  some  years 
previously,  in  May  1765  to  be  precise,  the  Spital  Fields  weavers,  smarting 
under  some  real  and  many  imaginary  grievances,  made  an  attack  on  the 
wall  of  Bedford  House,  and  began  to  demolish  it,  tearing  up  the  flag- 
stones and  palings  in  the  road  in  front  of  it  ;  and  it  is  probable  that, 
had  they  not  been  prevented  by  the  footguards  who  had  been  stationed 
here  in  anticipation  of  something  of  the  kind  and  who  were  reinforced 
by  some  cavalry,  the  rioters  would  have  made  an  attack  on  the  house 
itself.  The  Duke  of  Bedford  was  at  this  time  Lord  President  of  the 
Council,  and  thus  being  a  member  of  the  Government  was  more  or 
less  a  marked  man,  and  had  to  fear  the  physical  force  of  popular  resent- 
ment as  well  as  the  invectives  of  the  redoubtable  Junius. 


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CHAPTER    IV 

LP:ICESTER   house,   Etc. 

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and   C 
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.er   House,     n 
J    House,    now   the   Naval  an"'  y 

J  ,  .. av...,.;  ,     ■.-.... ...^^  ^iouse,  in  Burlington   ^t-^^i- • 

e,  now  The  Albany ;    Newcastle  House,  Line 
choraberg  House  (although  only  a  wing  of  this  still  exists;  in  J 


LEin 


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md  by  his  son  Frederic! 
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96     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

with  it  ;  but  it  is  for  this  latter  reason  that  a  short  notice  of  it  seems 
admissible  in  these  pages. 

The  house  was  erected  hy  Robert  Sidney,  Earl  of  Leicester,  in  the 
time  of  Charles  I.,  that  nobleman  having  succeeded  John  Wymonde 
Carewe  in  the  occupancy  of  the  ground  on  which  it  stood,  formerly 
belonging  to  the  Hospital  of  St.  Giles,  which  by  exchange  had  then 
passed  into  the  hands  of  the  Crown,  by  whom  it  was  granted  to  Lord 
Lisle,  who  in  turn  conveyed  it  to  Carewe. 

The  mansion  stood  on  the  north-east  side  of  what  is  now  Leicester 
Square  but  was  then  called  Leicester  Fields,  and  lay  back  a  considerable 
way  from  the  road,  having  an  ample  courtyard  in  front  ;  while  its  gardens 
extended  as  far  as  Gerrard  Street  in  the  rear,  as  may  be  seen  by  the  view 
of  the  Fields  taken  about  1700.  The  original  residence  was  a  building 
of  ample  and  even  stately  proportions  built  round  a  courtyard  with  a 
projecting  centre  on  its  south  side,  its  gardens  extending  practically 
over  the  whole  of  what  is  now  the  north  side  of  the  Square,  and  being 
divided  from  a  large  open  tract  of  ground  by  an  extensive  wall.  It  v\'as 
for  long  identified  with  the  noble  family  of  the  Sidneys,  and  it  was  the 
second  member  of  this  family,  originally  ennobled  by  the  title  of  Earl 
of  Leicester  in  161 8,  who  erected  the  later  house,  probably  between 
the  years  1632  and  1636,  on  his  return  from  his  embassy  to  Denmark 
in  the  former  year. 

Here  the  Earl  continued  to  reside  until  the  later  years  of  his  life, 
when  the  mansion  seems  to  have  been  occupied  by  various  members 
of  his  family  who  desired  a  temporary  town  house  ;  while  it  was  occasionally 
let  when  not  in  use  in  this  way.  During  the  Civil  Wars,  however,  when 
Charles  had  become  a  prisoner,  the  Parliament  placed  the  Duke  of 
Gloucester  and  the  Princess  Elizabeth  under  the  care  of  Lord  Leicester, 
and  they  must  have  spent  some  time  in  Leicester  House  in  the  intervals 
of  their  sojourn  at  Penshurst.  The  house  was  to  have  another  Royal 
visitor,  in  the  time  of  Charles  H.,  during  a  very  short  time  however, 
for  the  Queen  of  Bohemia  had  made  arrangements  to  remove  hither 
from  Bohemia  Palace,  as  it  was  called,  next  to  Craven  House,  in  February 
1662,  and  indeed  did  so,  but  the  hand  of  death  was  already  upon  her, 
and  she  died  within  a  fortnight  of  taking  up  her  residence  here.  Some 
years  later  Colbert,  the  French  Ambassador,  and  brother  of  the  more 
famous  minister  of  Louis  XIV.,  occupied  the  house,  and  Pepys  records 
that  a  deputation  of  the  Royal  Society  waited  upon  him  here,  on 
September  21,  1668.  Just  thirty  years  later  the  Imperial  Ambassador 
was  likewise  lodged  here,  and  a  few  years  later  stiU  Prince  Eugene,  then 
on  a  secret  mission  to  this  country,  resided  in  the  mansion  ;    so  that  the 


LEICESTER   HOUSE  97 

interest  of  its  various  occupants  was  no  less  marked  than  the  size  and 
importance  of  the  house  itself. 

In  1 71 8  it  was  to  become,  instead  of  a  private  residence  and  merely 
a  temporary  resting-place  for  royal  personages  and  ambassadors,  a  per- 
manent abode  of  royalty,  for  in  that  year  George,  Prince  of  Wales,  having 
quarrelled  with  his  father,  and  being  expelled  from  St.  James's,  bought 
the  mansion  and  took  up  his  abode  there,  and  here  three  years  later  the 
Duke  of  Cumberland  was  born.  The  Prince  occupied  the  place  until 
his  accession,  in  1727,  and  it  was  he  who  purchased  the  adjoining  Savile 
House  and  added  it  to  the  residence  for  the  use  of  the  Royal  children  ; 
while  it  was  from  Leicester  House  that  he  issued  his  declaration  on 
succeeding  to  the  Crown.  When,  some  years  later,  his  son  quarrelled 
with  him,  the  latter  became  the  owner  of  the  house  ;  from  which 
double  event  Pennant  not  inaptly  termed  it  "  the  pouting  place  of 
princes." 

Here  Frederick,  Prince  of  Wales,  died  in  175 1,  and  here  his  son  George 
was  proclaimed  king,  in  1760,  and  shortly  after  removed  to  St.  James's 
Palace.  The  Princess-Dowager  continued  to  reside  here  for  another  six 
years,  when  she,  too,  removing  to  Carlton  House,  the  place  fell  from  its 
high  estate,  and  was  occupied  by  various  museums  and  exhibitions,  the  most 
important  of  which  was  the  once  famous  collection  of  Sir  Ashton  Lever, 
which  rejoiced  in  the  high-sounding  title  of  the  Holophusikon.  On  the 
death  of  Sir  Ashton  in  1788,  his  assemblage  of  curious  objects  was  sold, 
and  Leicester  House  was  not  long  afterwards  demolished  ;  New  Lisle 
Street  being  formed  through  its  gardens,  and  increasingly  elaborate 
buildings  being  erected  from  time  to  time  on  the  site  of  the  mansion 
itself.^ 

DRURY   OR   CRAVEN   HOUSE 

Nearly  at  the  south-east  corner  of  Drury  Lane  where  it  used  to  join 
Wych  Street,  and  a  little  to  the  north  of  where  the  old  Olympic  Theatre 
stood,  is  a  cul  de  sac  known  as  Craven  Buildings  which  preserves  the  name 
of  the  once  famous  and  splendid  Craven  House,  just  as  Drury  Lane 
perpetuates  the  earlier  designation  of  the  mansion.  The  great  improve- 
ment in  the  Strand,  which  has  brought  Kingsway  into  existence  and 
resuscitated  the  ancient  Aldwych,  has  swept  away  the  Olympic,  which 

1  Leicester  House  is  too  much  identified  as  a  Royal  Palace  to  admit  of  any  more  extended 
notice  than  this  summary  review  in  these  pages ;  but  those  who  are  interested  in  its  annals 
will  find  much  of  interest  about  it  in  the  various  histories  of  London,  and  particularly  in  Tom 
Taylor's  Leicester  Square. 

G 


98        THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

stood  practically  on  the  site  of  the  old  house  which  must  have  been  one 
of  the  most  stately  of  any  of  those  in  this  neighbourhood.^ 

The  original  mansion  is  generally  supposed  to  have  been  erected 
by  Sir  William  Drury,  who  died  in  1579,  but  there  seems  better  authority 
for  considering  that  an  earlier  member  of  the  family,  namely  Sir  Roger 
Drury,  was  its  builder,  and  as  he  died  in  1495,  the  better  part  of  a  century 
is  thus  added  to  its  age.  What  seems  probable  is  that,  as  in  the  case 
of  so  many  of  the  old  palaces  of  London,  it  was  enlarged,  or  perhaps  even 
rebuilt,  and  Sir  William  Drury  may  have  been  responsible  for  such 
additions.  We  know  that  he  filled  some  important  positions,  such  as 
that  of  the  Marshal  of  Berwick,  as  well  as  that  of  Lord  Justice  to  the 
Council  in  Ireland,  and  was  besides  a  Knight  of  the  Garter ;  and  it  is 
probable  that  the  house  that  had  descended  to  him  was  not  sufficiently 
spacious  for  the  state  which  he  must  necessarily  have  kept  up,  as  the  head 
of  a  great  family  and  one  moving  in  exalted  official  circles.  Sir  William 
had  been  one  of  the  supporters  of  Queen  Mary  when  her  throne  was 
threatened  by  the  machinations  of  Northumberland  and  his  puppets 
Guildford  Dudley  and  Lady  Jane  Grey,  and  Elizabeth  is  known  to  have 
shown  him  marked  favour ;  and  once  when  he  had  advocated  her  alliance 
with  the  Duke  of  Anjou,  she  good-humouredly  gave  him  a  great  clap 
on  the  shoulder  and  replied,  "  I  will  never  marry  ;  but  I  will  ever  bear 
goodwill  and  favour  to  those  who  have  liked  and  favoured  the  same ;  ^ 
and  that  the  Queen  held  Lady  Drury '  in  affectionate  esteem  is  proved 
by  the  sympathetic  letter  she  wrote  her  on  the  death  of  Sir  William. 
It  is  probable  therefore  that  Elizabeth  was  a  visitor  at  Drury  House,  which 
would  alone  have  been  sufficient  to  account  for  any  enlargement  Sir 
William  may  have  made.  By  a  curious  coincidence,  after  its  owner's 
death,  Drury  House  was  the  scene  of  some  of  Essex's  plotting  against  the 
Queen,  where  he  met  those  malcontents  who  were  ready  enough  to  further 
his  scheme  of  seizing  the  palace  and  the  Tower  ;  but  whether  Essex  had 
taken  the  place  or  had  found  a  congenial  spirit  in  the  successor  of  Sir 
William  is  not  recorded. 

Another  member  of  the  family,  Sir  Robert  Drury,  "  a  gentleman 
of  a  very  noble  state,  and  a  more  liberal  mind,"  lived  in  Drury  House 
at  a  later  date,  and  here  he  received  the  celebrated  Dr.  Donne,  giving 
him,  according  to  Isaac  Walton,  "  an  useful  apartment  in  his  own  large 

'  There  is  a  good  view  of  it,  as  well  as  a  small  plan,  and  another  small  picture  of  what 
remained  of  the  mansion  at  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century,  in  Wilkinson's  Londinn 
Illustrata. 

•  Bowes  MSS.,  quoted  by  Agnes  Strickland. 

'  Probably  Lady  Wylliams  of  Tame,  who,  according  to  Machyn,  was  married  to  William 
Drure,  on  October  10,  1560. 


CRAVEN    HOUSE  99 

house  in  Drury  Lane,"  where  the  Doctor  and  his  family  resided,  and 
it  was  when  the  two  friends  were  on  a  visit  to  Paris  that  Donne  had  his 
celebrated  "  vision "  of  his  wife  "  with  her  hair  hanging  about  her 
shoulders,  and  a  dead  child  in  her  arms " ;  ^  when  a  messenger  being  sent 
to  England,  it  was  found  that  at  that  very  hour  Mrs.  Donne  had  given 
birth  to  a  dead  infant. 

Bishop  Hall,  who  wrote  what  he  called  the  Virgidemiarum,  or  a  Tooth- 
less Satire,  was  also  a  visitor  at  Drury  House,  from  which  it  would  appear 
that  Sir  Robert  was  a  patron  of  literature  of  the  more  recondite  order. 

Drury  House  passed  from  the  old  family  from  whom  it  took  its  name 
to  the  Cravens,  the  most  illustrious  of  whom  was  that  William,  first  Earl 
of  Craven,  the  hero  of  Kreuznach,  who  died  here  in  1697. 

The  original  Craven  House  which  Gerbier  designed,  apparently  for 
Lord  Craven's  father.  Sir  William  Craven,  in  1620,  was  an  imitation  of 
Heidelberg,  and  was,  subsequently,  destroyed  by  fire ;  the  second 
mansion  was  built  by  Captain  Wynne,  Gerbier's  pupil,  for  the  first  Lord 
Craven,  who  was  one  of  those  fine  unselfish  characters  which  illumine 
the  age  in  which  they  live.  Besides  being  a  great  soldier,  he  was  also 
as  renowned  in  peace,  and  even  the  glory  of  his  great  victory  pales  before 
the  heroism  he  displayed  by  remaining,  one  of  the  very  few  men  of 
quality  who  did  so,  in  London  during  the  Great  Plague,  and  endeavouring 
by  his  active  philanthropy  to  mitigate  something  of  the  horrors  of  that 
awful  scourge.  He  it  was  who  built  the  Lazaretto  or  Hospital,  on  what 
was  afterwards  termed  Pest  House  Fields,  near  where  Golden  Square 
now  stands  ;  well  might  Pennant  call  him  "  the  intrepid  soldier,  the 
gallant  lover,  the  genuine  patriot." 

"  The  gallant  lover  "  refers  to  one  of  the  most  romantic  episodes 
in  his  career  ;  his  devotion  to  the  unfortunate  Queen  of  Bohemia,  "  The 
Queen  of  Hearts,"  who  was  lodged  next  door  to  Craven  House,  as  Drury 
House  was  now  called,  for  about  six  months  when  she  came  to  this  country 
in  1661  ;  and  only  left  it,  as  we  have  seen,  to  die  in  Leicester  House 
close  by. 

Lord  Craven,  who,  it  has  been  said,  was  married  to  the  Queen, 
arranged  everything  for  her  comfort  here  and  at  Leicester  House ;  and 
for  many  years  previously,  after  the  overthrow  of  what  little  power  her 
husband  the  Elector  Palatine  ever  possessed,  she  as  his  widow  seems  to 
have  lived  on  the  bounty  of  her  faithful  adherent. 

When  Craven  House  was  rebuilt  by  Lord   Craven,^  he   also   erected 

'  See  a  long  account  of  this  curious  incident  in  Walton's  Life  of  Donne,  1805,  vol.  i.  p.  35 
etseq. 

^  He  was  created  a  Viscount  and  Earl  of  Craven,  in  1664,  by  Charles  II.,  who  gave  him 
the  Colonelcy  of  the  Coldstream  Guards  on  the  death  of  Monk,  Earl  of  Albemarle. 


loo     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

another  mansion,  called  Bohemia  House  or  Palace,  next  to  it,  as  a  resi- 
dence *  for  his  Royal  mistress,  according  to  Timbs,  although  in  a  plan, 
dated  1788,  the  place  is  shown  marked  "  Bohemia  Palace  or  Craven  House," 
as  if  the  two  residences  were  identical. 

The  extensive  gardens  attached  to  Craven  House  afforded  their  owner 
an  opportunity  of  indulging  his  love  of  horticulture,  and  of  receiving 
such  sympathetic  friends  as  Ray  and  Evelyn  ;  and  Leigh  Hunt,  referring 
to  this,  says :  "  The  garden  of  Craven  House  ran  in  the  direction  of  the 
present  Drury  Lane  ;  so  that  where  there  is  now  a  bustle  of  a  very 
different  sort,  we  may  fancy  the  old  soldier  busying  himself  with  his 
flower  beds,  and  John  Evelyn  discoursing  upon  the  blessing  of  peace  and 
privacy."  In  1723,  these  gardens  were  built  over,  and  Craven  Buildings 
erected  on  their  site  ;  while  formerly  on  the  wall  at  the  bottom  of  these 
buildings  was  to  be  seen  a  large  fresco  painting  of  Lord  Craven  mounted 
on  his  charger,  which,  however,  after  being  repainted  once  or  twice,  was 
covered  with  plaster  and  finally  destroyed.  Craven  House  gradually  fell 
into  decay,  being  let  out  as  tenements,  and  at  the  beginning  of  the  nine- 
teenth century  entirely  demolished  ;  the  Olympic  Theatre  was  built  on 
its  site,  by  Astley,  in  1805. 

HARCOURT   HOUSE 

Although  Harcourt  House  has  disappeared,  it  did  so  such  a  short 
time  since  that  its  sombre  exterior  is  within  the  recollection  of  most  of 
us.  Occupying  nearly  the  whole  of  the  west  side  of  Cavendish  Square, 
it  could  but  be  partially  seen  rising  above  the  wall  which  effectually 
screened  its  chief  rooms  from  the  gaze  of  the  profanum  vulgus.  I  recollect 
going  over  it  not  long  before  it  was  demolished,  and  nothing  then  could 
have  exceeded  the  dreariness  of  its  interior,  except  perhaps  the  gloom 
which  sat  perpetually  on  its  outward  walls.  The  very  size  of  its  rooms,  and 
the  remains  of  their  former  magnificence,  with  their  elaborately  carved 
and  moulded  cornices  ;  their  ceilings  painted  en  grisaille  and  their  fine 
old  chimney-pieces,  added  to  the  sense  of  desolation  which  seemed  to 
have  irrevocably  settled  on  the  whole  place  ;  there  was  something  pathetic 
in  seeing  the  last  sad  days  of  what  had  once  enjoyed  so  full  and  splendid 
a  life  ;  but  at  the  same  time  one  could  not  but  remember  that  a  portion 
of  its  career  had  been  passed  under  a  shadow  sufficiently  gloomy  as  to 
anticipate  its  final  decline  and  fall. 

'  It  is  known  that  he  erected,  at  a  cost  of /6o,ooo,  a  fine  house  at  Hampstead  Marshall,  in 
Berkshire,  for  her  use.  It  was  largely  altered  by  Captain  Wynne;  and  was  burnt  down  in 
1718. 


HARCOURT   HOUSE  loi 

When  Cavendish  Square  was  laid  out  in  171 7,  the  first  house  to  be 
completed  was  what  was,  in  the  original  numbering,  No.  15,  later  known 
as  Harcourt  House.  Besides  being  the  first,  it  was  by  far  the  largest  and 
most  important  residence  in  the  Square,  although  had  the  Duke  of 
Chandos  completed  the  immense  erection  which  he  designed  to  occupy 
the  whole  of  the  north  side  of  the  Square,  Harcourt  House,  ample  as  it 
was,  would  have  sunk  into  comparative  insignificance  ;  but  the  Duke 
never  completed,  indeed  he  never  even  commenced,  the  main  portion 
of  his  intended  palace,  and  thus  Harcourt  House  was  and  remained  the 
dominating  building  in  this  "  quadrate."  It  was  erected  for  Robert 
Benson,  Lord  Bingley,  whose  name  appears  in  the  Rate  Books  for  1730, 
the  first  stone  being  laid  in  1722. 

Robert  Benson,  of  Red  Hall,  near  Wakefield,  and  of  Bramham  Park, 
sat  in  Parliament  for  many  years  as  member  for  York  ;  subsequently 
filling  many  Government  offices,  such  as  that  of  Lord  of  the  Treasury, 
from  August  1710  to  April  171 1,  and  including  that  of  Chancellor  of  the 
Exchequer;'  he  was  created  Lord  Bingley  in  1 71 3.  Lady  Wentworth, 
writing  to  her  son  on  April  28,  1709,  thus  refers  to  him  :  "  Your  brother 
Wentworth  tels  me  Mr.  Benson  is  to  loock  affter  your  buildin  in  York- 
shire. I  have  found  him  out  to  be  an  old  acquantence  of  myne,  his 
father  was  your  father's  mortell  ennemy  ...  I  have  kist  him  many  a 
time  ;  he  was  a  very  prety  boy,  he  has  a  good  estate."  According  to  the 
Caracteres  de  flusters  Ministres  de  la  Cour  d'' Angleterre,  supposed  to  have 
been  written  by  Lord  Raby,  Robert  Benson  is  described  as  of  "  no 
extraction,"  his  father  having  been  "  an  attorney  and  no  great  character 
for  an  honest  man  .  .  .  concerned  in  the  affairs  of  Oliver  Cromwell  "  ; 
and  the  story  Peter  Wentworth  tells  of  his  son's  application  to  the 
Heralds'  College  for  supporters,  when  he  was  made  a  Peer,  confirms 
this ;  for  reply  was  sent  him  that  ''  they  could  find  no  arms  to  be 
supported  "  ! 

It  is,  however,  in  view  of  the  great  house  he  erected  in  Cavendish 
Square,  interesting  to  know  that  he  was  considered  a  great  amateur  autho- 
rity on  building  matters  ;  and  he  gave  good  advice  in  this  connection  to 
Lord  Raby  through  Peter  Wentworth,  on  one  occasion  ;  while  Lord 
Bute  (the  father  of  George  III.'s  Minister),  writing  to  Lord  StraflFord, 
remarks  that  "  your  lordship  is  pleas'd  to  be  so  mery  with  your  humble 
servant  as  to  prefer  my  loe  taste  in  architecture  to  the  consummated 
experience  of  Bingley."     It  will  be  remembered  that  it  was  through  the 

'  It  would  seem,  from  a  letter  of  Peter  Wentworth,  dated  November  7,  1710,  that  this  was 
anticipated,  and  I  find  that  on  Harley  being  made  Earl  of  Oxford,  Benson  was  again  named 
for  the  post,  which  he  held  from  May  171 1  to  1713.  See  \\'enl-j.iorth  Papers,  p.  197,  and  Lady 
Cowpei^s  Diary,  p.  31. 


I02     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

representations  of  Colin  Campbell  and  Benson;  that  Wren  was  dismissed 
from  the  office  of  Surveyor-General;  in  171 8,  after  having  held  the  post 
for  fifty  years,  in  favour  of  Benson's  brother. 

In  the  Vitruvius  Britannicus  published  by  Campbell  is  a  design  for 
a  house  at  Wilbury,  by  Benson;  so  that,  in  the  absence  of  any  actual 
knowledge  as  to  who  was  the  architect  of  Harcourt  House,  it  is  not  un- 
reasonable to  suppose  that  it  was  largely  built  from  plans  prepared  by 
himself;  and  although  in  the  Crowle  Pennant  there  is  a  design  for  the 
house,  "  as  it  was  drawn  by  Mr.  Archer,  but  built  and  altered  to  what  it 
now  is  by  Edward  Wilcox,  Esq.,"  this  would  seem  to  refer  to  enlargements, 
&c.,  made  by  the  second  Lord  Harcourt.* 

Lord  Bingley  married  Lady  EHzabeth  Finch,  eldest  daughter  of 
Heneage,  Earl  of  Aylesford,  a  long  epigram  on  which  lady  from  the  hand 
of  Walpole  may  be  found  in  one  of  his  letters  to  Mann. 

In  London  and  its  Environs,  a  Mr.  Lane  is  given  as  succeeding  Lord 
Bingley  in  the  tenancy  of  the  house,  but  his  name  does  not  appear  in 
the  Rate  Books,  after  Lord  Bingley's  disappears  ;  whereas  Lord  Harcourt, 
who  had  been  living  previously  in  a  smaller  house  on  the  east  side  of 
the  Square  with  his  father,  is  given  as  "  Harcott,"  at  No.  15,  for  1732  ; 
in  1735  both  his  name  and  that  of  Lady  Harcourt  are  given  as  living 
in  separate  houses  here,  and  in  1738,  the  name  of  the  lady  alone  appears. 
It  would  appear  that  Simon,  first  Lord  Harcourt,  sometime  Lord  Chan- 
cellor, had  occupied  the  house  on  the  east  side  of  the  Square,  as  he  is 
said  to  have  died  in  it  on  July  28,  1727,  and  that  when  his  son  bought 
No.  15,  the  Dowager  Lady  Harcourt  (mentioned  in  the  Rate  Books) 
probably  still  occupied  the  smaller  house  on  the  east  side  of  the  Square. 
Walpole  called  Simon,  the  second  Lord  Harcourt,  who  was  created  an 
Earl  in  1749,  "civil  and  sheepish,"  but  he  filled  a  number  of  high  offices 
with  some  success,  although  Wraxall  considered  his  manner  "  too  grave 
and  measured  "  for  him  to  acquire  general  attachment  in  Ireland,  where 
he  was  Lord-Lieutenant  from  1772  till  1777. 

The  second  Earl  Harcourt  greatly  improved  and  enlarged  the  mansion, 
and  it  afterwards  passed  into  the  hands  of  the  Dukes  of  Portland."' 

'  The  handsome  offices  and  stables  originally  at  the  back  of  the  house,  beyond  the  garden, 
were  designed  by  Ware.  Archer  was  a  "groom-porter  of  all  His  Majesty's  houses  in  England 
and  elsewhere."  He  was  an  architect  of  considerable  merit,  although  St.  John's  Church,  West- 
minster, which  he  designed,  is  hardly  sufficient  to  prove  this.  Lady  Cowper  refers  to  him  in  her 
interesting  Diary. 

■  The  second  Duke  had  married  Lady  Margaret  Cavendish  Harley,  heiress  of  Edward, 
second  Earl  of  Oxford,  who  had  succeeded  to  the  estate  on  which  Cavendish  Square  stood 
through  his  wife,  the  heiress  of  the  Duke  of  Newcastle,  who  purchased  the  property,  in  1708. 
If  therefore  a  ninety-nine  years'  lease  had  been  granted  of  Harcourt  House  in  1717,  when  the 
Square  was  laid  out,  this  would  expire  in  1816,  so  that  the  property  would  then,  in  any  case, 
have  naturally  reverted  to  the  Duke  of  Portland  as  representing  the  original  ground  landlord. 


HARCOURT    HOUSE  103 

From  the  fact  that  Lord  Harcourt's  name  disappears  from  the  Rate 
Books  in  1738,  that  date  may  mark  the  year  when  the  house  passed  into 
the  hands  of  the  Portland  family  (in  which  case  it  would  have  been  under 
the  second  Duke),  in  the  occupancy  of  which  family  it  remained  till  the 
death  of  the  eccentric  fifth  Duke,  which  occurred  on  December  6,  1879. 

He  it  was  who  erected  the  great  screen  round  the  garden  at  the  back, 
and  who  lived  here  in  almost  monastic  seclusion,  much  to  the  wonder- 
ment of  the  curious,  who  were  never  tired  of  ventilating  stories,  mostly 
apocryphal,  of  his  extraordinary  manner  of  life,  of  which  we  have  heard 
so  much  in  a  recent  cause  celebre,  the  result  of  which  has,  it  may  be  hoped, 
done  much  to  blow  away  these  flimsy  rumours.  The  fact  is  that  the  house 
had  always  such  a  mysterious  appearance  that  half  the  tales  circulated 
may  have  gained  additional  credence  from  the  fact  of  its  forbidding 
exterior.  Even  in  Lord  Bingley's  time,  Ralph  wrote  that  he  considered 
it  "  one  of  the  most  singular  pieces  of  architecture  about  town,"  and 
likened  it  rather  to  "  a  convent  than  the  residence  of  a  man  of  quality." 
Angelo,  in  his  Reminiscences,  on  the  other  hand,  thought  it  had  "  more 
the  appearance  of  a  Parisian  mansion  than  any  other  house  in  London," 
on  account  of  its  high  court  walls  and  its  forte  cochere  ! 

Thackeray  took  it,  or  at  least  some  of  its  characteristics,  as  the  original 
of  his  Gaunt  House,  and  considering  the  doings  that  went  on  in  Lord 
Steyne's  residence,  perhaps  this  was  another  reason  why  peaceful  and 
wondering  citizens  should  have  pointed  it  out  as  a  home  of  mystery. 

In  more  recent  years  Harcourt  House  had  a  slight  resuscitation  of 
life  given  it  when  Lord  Breadalbane  lived  there  for  a  time  ;  but  two 
years  ago  the  inevitable  overtook  it,  and  now  a  block  of  stupendous  flats 
reigns  in  its  stead. 

MONMOUTH   HOUSE 

Just  as  Harcourt  House  was  the  chief  feature  of  Cavendish  Square, 
so  Monmouth  House  once  proudly  dominated  the  formerly  fashionable 
Soho  Square,  and  although  one  or  two  other  great  houses  were  near  by, 
such  as  Falconberg  House  and  Carhsle  House,  afterwards  to  be  closely 
identified  with  the  notorious  Mrs.  Cornelys,  Monmouth  House  was  the 
only  residence  in  the  Square  that  can  rightly  be  termed  a  palace. 

It  is  said  to  have  been  designed  by  Wren,^  and  built  in  168 1,  for  the 
Duke  of  Monmouth,  at  the  time  when  Soho  Square  was  formed,  and  if  it 
was  not  actually  the  first,  was  one  of  the  first  two  houses  to  be  erected 

'  Thombury's  Old  and  New  London. 


I04     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

here.  The  Rate  Books  ^  show  the  Duke  to  have  been  in  occupation  at  the 
beginning  of  the  following  year  ;  but  this  was  a  period  of  storm  and  stress 
for  the  noble  owner,  who  must  have  had  very  little  enjoyment  out  of 
his  new  dwelling  which,  tmmemor  sepulcri,  like  so  many  others,  he  had  caused 
to  be  built ;  indeed  he  seems  to  have  been  relatively  little  here,  as  the 
numerous  plots  he  was  engaged  in  made  his  own  home  anything  but  a 
safe  asylum  ;  and  we  find  him  hiding  in  the  houses  of  his  friends,  some- 
times at  Lord  Anglesey's  in  Drury  Lane,  sometimes  in  Counsellor 
Thompson's  in  Essex  Street ;  anon  in  lodgings  in  Holborn.  As  all  the 
world  knows,  he  was  beheaded  in  1685,  so  that  a  very  few  years  of  inter- 
mittent enjoyment  of  his  palace  was  permitted  him. 

After  the  Duke's  death,  the  property  was  purchased,  presumably  from 
his  widow,*  by  Lord  Bateman,  who  resided  here  for  a  time,  but  as  the 
stream  of  fashion  flowed  westward,  his  lordship  went  with  it,  and  the 
seemingly  inevitable  fate  of  all  the  fine  old  London  houses  overtook 
Monmouth  House,  a  portion  of  which,  in  1717,  was  converted  into 
auction  rooms.  Many  years  later,  notably  in  1763,  it  had  a  brief  return 
of  prosperity,  when  it  was  rented  by  the  Comte  de  Guerchy,  then  French 
Ambassador  in  London,  and  in  the  memoirs  of  the  period  references  will 
be  found  to  entertainments  given  here  by  His  Excellency,  who  appears 
to  have  occupied  the  mansion  for  about  ten  years ;  while  in  a  contem- 
porary newspaper,  for  April  1764,  we  read  that  "a  new  chapel  is  erecting 
for  the  use  of  His  Excellency  the  Count  de  Guerchy,  the  French 
Ambassador,  in  Queen  Street,  near  Thrift  (now  Frith)  Street,  Soho " ; 
this  chapel  being  built  on  a  portion  of  the  gardens  of  Monmouth  House. 

When  M.  Grosley  visited  this  country  in  1765,  he  mentions  the  re- 
sidence of  the  French  Ambassador  as  among  the  four  in  London  which 
he  considers  alone  "  comparable  aux  grands  hotels  de  Paris"  and  as  these 
included  Bedford  and  Chesterfield  Houses,  as  well  as  the  house  occupied 
by  the  Spanish  Ambassador,  we  should,  from  this  selection,  have  good 
evidence  of  the  splendour  of  old  Monmouth  House,  even  if  the  front 
view  of  it  given  by  J.  T.  Smith  in  his  Antiquities  of  London  were  not  an 
additional  proof  of  the  architectural  excellence  of  its  facade.  Besides 
this,  however,  we  are  luckily  able  to  rehabilitate  certain  features  of  the 
place  by  the  help  of  Smith,  who  in  his  Life  of  Nollekens  gives  the  follow- 
ing account   of   the  building  which,  we  must  remember,  he  saw  under 

'  As,  curiously  enough,  Robert  Carey,  Earl  of  Monmouth,  and  his  son  the  second  and  last 
Earl  (he  died  in  1661),  were  both  inhabitants  of  this  quarter,  it  has  been  assumed  that  the 
name  of  Monmouth  House  was  taken  from  their  title,  but  this  will,  1  think,  hardly  bear 
consideration.     Their  residence  was,  however,  probably  also  known  by  their  name. 

^  He  had  married,  in  1663,  Lady  Anne  Scott,  daughter  and  heiress  of  Francis,  second  Earl 
of  Buccleuch. 


MONMOUTH   HOUSE  105 

all  the  disadvantages  of  partial  demolition.  Here  is  what  he  has  recorded 
about  it  :  "  Mr.  Nollekens,  on  his  way  to  the  Roman  Catholic  Chapel, 
in  Duke  Street,  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields,  where  he  was  christened,  stopped 
to  show  me  the  dilapidations  of  the  Duke  of  Monmouth's  house  in  Soho 
Square.  It  was  on  the  south  side,  and  occupied  the  site  of  the  houses 
which  now  stand  in  Bateman's  Buildings  ;  and  though  the  workmen 
were  employed  in  pulling  it  down,  we  ventured  to  go  in.  The  gate 
entrance  was  of  massive  ironwork  supported  by  stone  piers,  surmounted 
by  the  crest  of  the  owner  of  the  house  ;  and  within  the  gates  there  was  a 
spacious  courtyard  for  carriages.  The  hall  was  ascended  by  steps.  There 
were  eight  rooms  on  the  ground  floor  ;  the  principal  one  was  a  dining- 
room  towards  the  south,  the  carved  and  gilt  panels  of  which  had  contained 
whole-length  pictures.  At  the  corners  of  the  ornamented  ceiling  which 
was  of  plaster,  and  over  the  chimney-piece,  the  Duke  of  Monmouth's 
arms  were  displayed. 

"  From  a  window  we  descended  into  a  paved  yard,  surrounded  by  a 
red-brick  wall  with  heavy  stone  copings,  which  was,  to  the  best  of  my 
recollection,  full  twenty  feet  in  height.  The  staircase  was  of  oak,  the 
steps  very  low,  and  the  landing-places  tessellated  with  woods  of  light 
and  dark  colours,  similar  to  those  now  remaining  on  the  staircase  of  Lord 
Russell's  house,  late  Lowe's  Hotel,  Covent  Garden,  and  in  several  rooms 
of  the  British  A'luseum. 

"  As  we  ascended,  I  remember  Mr.  Nollekens  noticing  the  busts  of 
Seneca,  Caracalla,  Trajan,  Adrian,  and  several  others,  upon  ornamental 
brackets.  The  principal  room  on  the  first  floor,  which  had  not  been 
disturbed  by  the  workmen,  was  lined  with  blue  satin,  superbly  decorated 
with  pheasants  and  other  birds  in  gold.  The  chimney-piece  was  richly 
ornamented  with  fruit  and  foliage,  similar  to  the  carvings  which  sur- 
rounded the  altar  of  St.  James's  Church,  Piccadilly,  so  beautifully  executed 
by  Grinling  Gibbons.  In  the  centre  over  this  chimney-piece,  within  a 
wreath  of  oak  leaves,  there  was  a  circular  recess  which  evidently  had  been 
designed  for  the  reception  of  a  bust.  The  heads  of  the  panels  of  the 
brown  window  shutters,  which  were  very  lofty,  were  gilt  ;  and  the  piers 
between  the  windows,  from  stains  upon  the  silk,  had  probably  been  filled 
with  looking-glasses.  The  scaffolding,  ladders,  andj  numerous  workmen 
rendered  it  too  dangerous  for  us  to  go  higher,  or  see  more  of  this  most 
interesting  house.  My  father  had,  however,  made  a  drawing  of  the 
external  front  of  it,  which  I  engraved  for  my  first  work,  entitled 
Antiquities  of  London,  which  has  been  noticed  by  Mr.  Pennant  in  his 
valuable  and  entertaining  anecdotes  of  the  Metropolis."  ^ 

'  Life  of  Nollekens,  by  J.  T.  Smith,  edited  by  Mr.  Edmund  Gosse,  1895,  pp.  53-5;. 


io6     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

The  property  on  which  Monmouth  House  stood  subsequently  be- 
longed to  the  Dukes  of  Portland,  and  in  the  Grace  collection  is  a  plan, 
drawn  by  John  White,  in  1799,  which  shows  the  large  extent  of  ground 
occupied  by  Monmouth  House  and  its  gardens  which  originally  covered 
the  area  between  Greek  Street  and  Frith  Street,  and  reached  back  as  far 
as  Queen  Street. 

When  the  Comte  de  Guerchy's  tenancy  expired,  and  the  mansion  was 
demolished  in  1773,  the  ground  on  which  it  stood  was  let  on  building 
leases,  and  on  part  of  it  Bateman's  Buildings  ^  were  erected,  which, 
with  the  neighbouring  Bateman  Street,  perpetuates  the  title  of  the  second 
owner  of  Monmouth  House  ;  but  there  is  nothing  now  to  record  the 
association  of  the  mansion  with  its  original  unfortunate  possessor. 

ASHBURNHAM    HOUSE 

Unlike  Monmouth  House,  of  which  every  trace  has  long  since  dis- 
appeared, Ashburnham  House  was  standing  till  within  a  few  years  ago  (i  897), 
but  the  site  is  now  covered  by  the  immense  block  of  fiats  which  has  a 
frontage  in  Dover  Street,  Piccadilly,  and  occupies  the  whole  of  the  south  side 
of  Hay  Hill.  The  old  mansion  stood  some  way  back  from  Dover  Street, 
having  a  courtyard  enclosed  by  railings  in  front  of  it  ;  it  was  numbered 
30  in  the  street,  and  was  for  many  years  the  town  house  of  the  Earls  of 
Ashburnham. 

It  would  appear  that  when  Dover  Street  was  formed  in  1686,  Lord 
Dover,'  the  ground  landlord,  occupied  a  house  on  the  east  side  of  the 
thoroughfare  ;  in  1700,  however,  the  Rate  Books  show  him  to  have  re- 
moved to  the  west  side,  probably  to  a  house  erected  by  himself,  which 
Macky  calls  "  a  very  noble  "  one,  on  the  site  afterwards  occupied  by 
Ashburnham  House.  Lord  Dover  died  in  1708,  but  his  widow  occupied 
the  house  till  the  end  of  1726  ;  shortly  after  which  the  following  ad- 
vertisement appeared  in  the  Daily  'Journal,  for  January  6,  1726-7  : — 

"To  be  sold  by  auction  on  Wednesday  the  ist  of  February,  1726-1727,  the 
large  Dwelling  House  of  the  Right  Hon.  the  Countess  of  Dover  deceased  in  Dover 
Street,  St.  James's  ;  consisting  of  seven  rooms  on  a  floor,  with  closets,  a  large  and 
beautiful  staircase  finely  painted  by  Mr.  Laguerre,  with  three  coach  houses,  and 
stables  for  10  horses,  and  all  manner  of  conveniences  for  a  great  family." 

Nothing  appears  to  have  been  done  during  1727,  however,  for  in  the 

'  In  Horwood's  plan,  1794,  they  are  shown  running  down  the  centre  of  the  site  on  which 
old  Monmouth  House  stood. 

'  Henry  Jermyn,  second  son  of  Thomas  Jermyn,  and  nephew  of  Henry  Jermyn,  Earl  of 
St.  Albans,  created  a  peer  in  1685,  and  advanced  to  an  earldom  four  years  later. 


ASHBURNHAM   HOUSE  107 

Rate  Books  Lady  Dover's  name  is  marked  through  with  a  pen,  indicating 
that  the  house  was  empty;  but  in  1728,  it  is  omitted  from  the  Rates 
altogether,  which  would  tend  to  show  that  the  house  had  been  demolished  ; 
and  as  in  1729  the  name  of  James  Brudenel,  Esq.,  appears,  it  seems  almost 
certain  that  he  had  purchased  Lady  Dover's  house,  probably  in  1727, 
and  had  erected  a  new  mansion  on  its  site  ;  the  building  operations  being 
completed  in  1729.  Brudenel  was  a  member  of  the  family  ennobled  by 
the  earldom  of  Cardigan  in  1661  ;  and  I  trace  him  as  residing  in  Dover 
Street  till  1735  ;  six  years  later  the  fourth  Earl  of  Cardigan,  who  was 
created  Duke  of  Montagu  in  1766,  is  shown  as  occupying  the  same  house, 
which  he  apparently  retained  till  1750,  at  which  time  he  took  the  name 
and  arms  of  Montagu,  having  married  Lady  Mary  Montagu,  daughter 
and  co-heiress  of  John,  second  Duke  of  Montagu,  and  succeeded  his  father- 
in-law  in  the  occupancy  of  old  Montagu  House,  Whitehall,  to  be  precise, 
in  1749.  _ 

Dover  House,  from  1750  to  1758,  is  then  shown  in  the  Rate  Books  to 
have  been  occupied  by  the  fourth  Earl  of  CarHsle,  who  died  on  September  4 
of  the  latter  year  ;  but  it  is  probable  that  he  was  merely  renting  it,  as  the 
present  Lord  Ashburnham  tells  me  that  the  residence  was  purchased  by 
his  great-grandfather,  the  second  Earl,  whose  name  first  appears  in  the 
Rate  Books  for  1759,  from  the  Duke  of  Montagu,  or  as  he  then  was  Earl 
of  Cardigan. 

It  would  therefore  appear  that  the  mansion  demolished  in  1897  was 
that  erected  by  James  Brudenel,  in  1729  ;  '  although  it  had  obviously  been 
much  altered  since  that  date,  probably  by  Robert  Adam,  who  is  known 
to  have  designed  the  gateway  and  lodge-entrance  in  1773,  and  to  have 
made  decorative  additions  to  the  interior,  if  he  did  not  actually  rebuild 
the  place  a  second  time.  In  the  Crace  collection  is  a  plan  of  Ashburnham 
House  which  is  described  as  "  formerly  Dover  House." 

The  mansion  remained  the  town-house  of  the  Earls  of  Ashburnham 
till  its  destruction,  but  at  various  times  it  was  let  ;  notably  for  several 
years  to  the  Russian  Ambassadors,  of  whom  Prince  Lieven  was  the  first 
to  occupy  it,  and  Pozzo  di  Borgo  the  last  ;  while  Lord  Ashburnham 
informs  me  that  he  remembers  it  being  given  up  by  Baron  Brunnow 
shortly  before  the  outbreak  of  the  Crimean  War.^ 

During  Prince  Eleven's  tenancy,  the  celebrated  Princess  Lieven  held 
here  her  salon,  whither  resorted  members  both  of  the  Government  and 

1  I  am  indebted  to  the  courtesy  of  Mr.  W.  E.  Bowen,  who  took  much  trouble  to  help  me  in 
verifying  the  data  from  the  Rate  Books  given  above. 

*  Greville  speaks,  in  May  1853,  of  Brunnow  "dreading  above  all  things  the  possibility  of 
his  having  to  leave  this  country." 


io8     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

of  the  Opposition,  a  characteristic  that  differentiated  it  from  the 
assembUes  at  Holland  House,  or  those  presided  over  by  Lady  Hertford  or 
Lady  Jersey. 

Unfortunately  there  is  little  to  record  about  Ashburnham  House, 
except  that  it  possessed,  in  common  with  other  great  mansions  in  London, 
splendid  and  well-proportioned  rooms,  and  was  full  of  those  fine  internal 
decorations,  such  as  elaborately  moulded  ceilings  and  cornices,  and  beauti- 
fully carved  mantelpieces  and  over-doors,  with  which  the  eighteenth 
century  loved  to  heighten  the  splendour  of  its  more  impressive  dwellings. 

The  position  formerly  occupied  by  Ashburnham  House  deserves 
a  word  because  of  its  historical  interest  in  connection  with  Wyatt's  re- 
bellion. Hay  Hill  takes  its  name  from  the  Aye  Brook  which  ran  near 
here  through  the  gardens  of  Lansdowne  House,  and  from  which  Brook 
Street  is  so  named.  When  Sir  Thomas  Wyatt  marched  on  London, 
in  1554,  with  the  view  of  overturning  the  throne  of  Mary,  he  planted 
his  cannon  on  the  top  of  Hay  Hill,  probably  on  the  very  spot  where 
Ashburnham  House  afterwards  stood  ;  and  here,  according  to  Machyn, 
a  skirmish  took  place  between  his  forces  and  "  the  queeyns  men  "  when, 
adds  the  diarist,  "  he  and  ye  captayns  wher  overcum,  thanke  be  unto 
God."  In  accordance  with  the  retributive  justice  of  the  period,  Wyatt's 
head  was,  after  his  execution,  hung  "  on  the  gallowes  at  Hay  HiU,"  ^ 
which  would  appear  to  point  to  the  previous  existence  of  a  "  tree  "  here  ; 
unless  one  was  specially  erected  for  this  purpose,  which  the  use  of  the 
definite  article  does  not  seem  to  indicate. 


MARLBOROUGH   HOUSE 

We  must  now  turn  our  attention  to  the  half-dozen  houses  which, 
although  still  in  existence,  have  passed  from  private  ownership,  and  can 
therefore  only  be  considered  as  private  palaces  in  relation  to  their  former 
occupants.  The  first  of  these  is  Marlborough  House,  which  has  for  so  long 
been  identified  with  the  reigning  family,  that  for  many  people  much  of 
its  early  interest  has  become  merged  in  the  lustre  shed  on  it  by  its  more 
recent  occupiers. 

Marlborough  House  was  erected  during  the  years  1709  and  1710, 
for  the  great  Duke  of  Marlborough,  Queen  Anne  having  leased  the 
ground  on  which  it  stands  to  her  friend  the  Duchess  who,  to  mortify 
Vanbrugh,  employed  Wren  to  draw  out  plans  for  the  residence. 

By  a  plan  of  St.  James's  Park  as  it  was  at  the  Restoration  the  whole 

'  Stow  and  Machyn,  the  latter  of  whom  adds,  "  whar  dyd  hang  3  men  in  chynes." 


f'ifMil^ff     !*fe 


Henry  1 


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St.    In 


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/V.jiong  the  Coxe  M'----  .  ^wv...4u<    j.    vvha»-  •^'"' 

Marlborough  House  ha  c  and  Durhess   of 

some  interesting  detaus.     T 


of 


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no     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

ever  was  built  "  ;  and  we  learn  further  from  Her  Grace  that :  "  In  yearly 
rents  I  pay  to  the  Crown  are  five  shillings  ;  and  ^it,.  15.  o  for  the  house  ; 
and  ^13.  15.  o  for  the  four  little  houses  ;  the  land-tax  on  the  house  is 
^60  a  year." 

From  a  perspective  view  of  St.  James's  Palace  by  J.  Maurer,  we  can 
see  to  some  extent  what  Marlborough  House  looked  like  when  finished  ; 
it  differed  from  its  present  appearance  in  that  it  was  without  the  upper 
storey,  which  was  subsequently  added  by  the  third  Duke,  who  also  built 
some  additional  rooms  on  the  ground  floor. 

Macky,  who  published  his  journey  through  England  in  the  year  of 
the  first  Duke's  death,  1722,  thus  speaks  of  the  house  as  it  was  at  that  time  : 
"  Marlborough  House,  the  palace  of  the  Duke  of  Marlborough,"  he 
writes,  "  is  in  every  way  answerable  to  the  grandeur  of  its  master.  Its 
situation  is  more  confined  than  that  of  the  Duke  of  Buckingham's  ;  ^ 
but  the  body  of  the  house  much  nobler,  more  compact,  and  the  apart- 
ments better  disposed.  It  is  situated  at  the  west  end  of  the  King's 
garden '  on  the  Park  side,  and  fronts  the  Park,  but  with  no  other  prospect 
but  the  view.  Its  court  is  very  spacious  and  finely  paved  ;  the  offices 
are  large  and  on  each  side  as  you  enter  ;  the  stairs  mounting  to  the  gate 
are  very  noble  ;  and  in  the  vestibule  as  you  enter,  are  finely  painted  the 
Battles  of  Hochstet  and  {sic)  Blenheim,  with  the  taking  Marshal  TaUard 
prisoner."  ^  These  paintings  were  the  work  of  Laguerre  and  covered  no 
less  than  500  square  yards  of  surface,*  and  are  dismissed  by  Walpole 
as  "  some  things  at  Marlborough  House." 

At  the  north-east  corner  of  the  house  is  the  foundation-stone,  on 
which  are  cut  these  words :  "  Laid  by  her  Grace  the  Duchess  of  Marl- 
borough, May  24,  and  June  4,  1709,"  so  that  next  year  will  see  the 
bi-centenary  of  the  palace. 

It  would  seem  that,  at  the  accession  of  George  I.,  the  Duke  of  Marl- 
borough, in  order  probably  to  further  his  interest  with  the  new  sovereign, 
offered  his  house  to  the  Prince  and  Princess  of  Wales  ;  and  in  the  Weekly 
Post  the  circumstance  is  mentioned  thus  :  "  The  Duke  of  Marlborough 
has  presented  his  house  to  the  Prince  and  Princess  of  Wales  ;  and  it  is 
said  a  terrace  walk  will  be  erected  to  join  the  same  to  St.  James's  House  ; 
and  that  the  Duke  and  Duchess  of  Marlborough  are  to  have  the  late 
Earl  of  Ranelagh's  house  at  Chelsea  College."  There  is,  however,  no 
further   record   of  this  gift  being  made  ;    indeed,  it  is  not  unlikely  that 

'  Buckingham  House,  now  Buckingham  Palace. 
'  This  was  afterwards  Carlton  House  Garden. 

■^  Vol.  i.  p.  127.     Macky  also   notes  that  "there  are  abundance  of  fine  pictures  in  this 
palace." 

'  London  Past  and  Present. 


MARLBOROUGH   HOUSE  iii 

the  perpetual  quarrels  between  the  King  and  the  Heir-apparent  would 
have  alone  been  sufficient  to  make  the  residence  of  the  latter  so  near 
St.  James's  anything  but  desirable  ;  and  eager  as  Marlborough  may  have 
been  to  pay  his  court  to  the  future  sovereign,  he  may  have  regretted 
making  an  offer  which  may  be  supposed  to  have  been  little  acceptable 
to  the  sovereign  in  esse. 

Although  there  are  magnificent  rooms  in  the  mansion,  Wren's  forte 
was  not  domestic  architecture,  and  there  is  no  doubt  but  that  the  con- 
venience of  the  internal  arrangements  as  affecting  the  relative  positions 
of  the  reception-rooms  and  the  offices,  was  sacrificed  to  the  outward 
appearance  of  the  house  ;  indeed  a  writer  describing  the  rooms,  in  1865, 
gives  an  amusing  picture  of  the  progress  of  provisions  from  the  kitchen 
to  the  dining-room  as  taking  this  route  :  "  First  downstairs  to  the  base- 
ment ;  secondly,  through  the  basement  corridors  ;  thirdly,  upstairs 
again  by  any  one  of  the  three  equally  awkward  means  ;  and  fourthly,  so 
on  to  the  dining  room  in  a  manner  still  as  awkward  as  the  rest."  ^ 

The  Duke  and  Duchess  continued  to  reside  at  Marlborough  House 
until  the  death  of  the  former,  which  occurred  here  in  1722  ;  when,  on 
August  6th,  that  magnificent  funeral  procession,  "  one  of  the  most  im- 
posing that  the  MetropoHs  of  England  had  ever  witnessed,"  in  which 
figured  the  car  with  its  violet  canopy,  specially  made  for  the  purpose 
by  the  Duchess's  orders,  and  which  on  a  notable  occasion  she  refused  to 
lend  to  the  Duchess  of  Buckingham,  passed  through  a  portion  of  the 
garden  wall  which  had  been  demolished  for  the  purpose.  Shortly  after- 
wards the  Duchess,  in  bed  as  was  her  wont,  received  the  Lord  Mayor 
and  Corporation  of  London,  who  came  all  the  way  from  the  City  to 
thank  her  for  the  present  of  a  fat  buck  ! 

Indeed,  after  the  Duke's  death  this  redoubtable  lady,  about  whom 
and  her  notorious  bad  temper  so  much  has  been  written  and  so  many 
stories  retailed,  reigned  like  a  queen  in  Marlborough  House,  saying  and 
doing  all  manner  of  strange  things.  The  tale  of  her  eccentricities  is 
endless.  When  the  preparations  for  the  marriage  of  the  Princess  Anne 
with  the  Prince  of  Orange  were  toward,  a  boarded  gallery  was  put  up 
close  to  the  windows  of  Marlborough  House,  and  was  allowed  to  remain 
there  an  unconscionable  time,  whereupon  the  Duchess,  eyeing  it  with 
indignation,  was  wont  to  remark,  "  I  wonder  how  long  my  neighbour 
George  will  leave  his  orange  chests  here."  But  she  had  to  put  up  with 
a  more  permanent  inconvenience  than  this.  The  entrance  to  Marl- 
borough House  from  Pall  Mall  was  always,  as  it  is  to-day,  awkward  and 
insignificant,   and   the  Duchess  was  anxious  to  purchase  the  houses  on 

'  The  Gentleman's  House,  by  R.  Kerr. 


112     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

the  ground  to  the  east  of  it,  in  order  that  she  might  make  a  more  fitting 
gateway,  but  Sir  Robert  Walpole  getting  wind  of  her  intention,  out  of 
mere  spite,  bought  the  property  in  question,  and  still  further  blocked 
up  the  front  of  Marlborough  House  by  erecting  other  buildings  on  the 
vacant  ground.  No  wonder  the  angry  Duchess  drew  the  distinction  that 
it  was  wrong  to  wish  Sir  Robert  dead,  but  only  common  justice  to  wish 
him  hanged  !  particularly  when  we  remember  that  Walpole  once  again  got 
the  better  of  her  when  he  found  out  that  she  was  trying  to  marry  her 
granddaughter  Lady  Diana  Spencer  to  the  Prince  of  Wales  and  had 
offered  ^^i 0,000  as  dowry,  and  effectually  prevented  the  scheme  from 
being  carried  through. 

The  Duchess  has  been  called 

"The  wisest  fool  much  time  has  ever  made," 

and  Vanbrugh,  who  had  no  reason  to  love  her  Grace,  it  must  be  con- 
fessed, speaks  of  her  as  that  "  wicked  woman  of  Marlborough " ;  while 
Swift,  who  hated  her  with  perhaps  less  reason,  records  her  "  sordid 
avarice,  disdainful  pride,  and  ungovernable  rage  "  ;  but  when  all  is  said, 
she  must  have  been  a  beautiful  woman,  and  frequently  a  warm  friend  ; 
and  to  her  "  clear  apprehension  and  true  judgment  "  no  less  an  authority 
than  Burnet  bears  witness. 

Her  death  occurred  at  Marlborough  House  in  her  eighty-fifth  year. 
She  had  been  told  that  she  must  be  blistered  or  she  would  die  ;  but  age 
could  not  wither  her  indomitable  spirit  :  "  I  won't  be  blistered  and  I 
won't  die,"  she  exclaimed  in  a  paroxysm  of  anger  ;  but  Death  is  deaf 
as  well  as  bHnd,  and  on  October  18,  1744,  the  old  fighter  ceased  from 
troubling. 

I  find  a  curious  anecdote  of  old  Duchess  Sarah  in  De  Saussure's  book 
on  England.  At  the  Coronation  of  George  H.  it  appears  that  the  pro- 
cession in  the  Abbey  was  at  one  time  brought  to  a  full  stop,  whereupon 
"  the  Dowager-Duchess  of  Marlborough  took  a  drum  from  a  drummer, 
and  seated  herself  on  it.  The  crowd  laughed  and  shouted  at  seeing  the 
wife  of  the  great  and  celebrated  General  Duke  of  Marlborough,  more 
than  seventy  years  of  age,  seated  on  a  drum  in  her  robes  of  state  and  in 
such  a  solemn  procession."  ^ 

Four  years  after  the  Duchess's  death,  certain  old  houses  that  had 
hitherto  stood  between  Marlborough  House  and  the  Palace  were  re- 
moved, under  the  direction  of  John  Vardy,  the  architect  who  helped  to 
build  Spencer  House  close  by.  At  this  time  the  second  Duke  of  Marl- 
borough, grand-nephew  of  the  Duchess,  resided  here  ;   and  on  his  death, 

'  A  Foreign  View  of  England. 


MARLBOROUGH    HOUSE  113 

in  1758,  he  was  succeeded  in  its  occupancy  by  his  son,  the  third  Duke, 
who  added  to  the  building  and  made  other  improvements.'  On  his 
death,  in  1817,  the  remainder  of  the  lease  of  the  property  was  purchased 
by  the  Crown,  as  a  London  residence  for  the  Princess  Charlotte  on  her 
marriage  with  Prince  Leopold,  but  before  the  purchase  was  completed 
the  Princess  died  ;  the  Prince,  however,  resided  here  for  several  years, 
paying  a  rent  of  ;^3000  a  year.  Later  it  became  the  town  residence  of 
the  Dowager  Queen  Adelaide,  until  her  death  in  1849;  and  in  the 
following  year  it  was  settled  on  the  Prince  of  Wales.  As,  however,  at  that 
time,  he  was  too  young  to  have  a  separate  establishment,  the  mansion 
was  granted  temporarily  to  the  then  newly-formed  Department  of  Science 
and  Art,  and  under  its  auspices  the  Vernon  Gallery,  inter  alia,  was  for  a 
time  housed  within  its  walls.  In  1861,  the  house  was  remodelled  as  a 
residence  for  the  Heir-apparent ;  the  stables  being  added  two  years  later. 

Marlborough  House  may  thus  be  considered  in  the  light  of  a  Royal 
Palace  for  nearly  the  last  hundred  years  of  its  existence,  and  as  such  has 
no  proper  right  to  be  included,  except  in  the  summary  way  in  which  I 
have  dealt  with  its  later  history,  in  these  pages.  If,  however,  in  more 
recent  days  its  fortunes  have  been  indissolubly  connected  with  His 
Majesty  the  King  as  well  as  with  the  present  Prince  of  Wales,  its  earlier 
history  is  as  closely  identified  with  the  great  soldier  who  taught  the 
doubtful  battle  where  to  rage,  and  with  his  imperious  and  beautiful 
Duchess. 

SCHOMBERG   HOUSE 

A  little  to  the  east  of  the  entrance  to  Marlborough  House  in  Pall 
Mall  stands  a  solitary  fragment,  the  west  wing,  of  the  once  splendid 
mansion  known  as  Schomberg  House.  Amid  the  classic  fronts  of  in- 
numerable clubs  which  have  borrowed  their  fa9ades  from  half  a  hundred 
palaces,  the  remains  of  old  Schomberg  House  look  as  much  out  of  place 
as  might  a  courtier  of  the  time  of  William  III.  if  seen  strolling  down 
Pall  Mall  to-day  ;  for,  indeed,  this  street  of  streets  has  been  rebuilt  out 
of  all  knowledge,  and  preserves  so  little  of  its  former  appearance  that  the 
ghosts  of  those  who  used  to  loiter  along  it  would  hardly  know  their  way 
until  they  caught  sight  of  the  clock-tower  of  the  palace  hard  by,  which 
alone  seems  to  defy  time  royally  amidst  the  ever-changing   kaleidoscope 

'  "This  house  with  offices,  yards,  gardens,  was  granted  by  the  Crown,  6th  June  1785,  to 
George,  Duke  of  Marlborough,  for  50  years,  together  with  a  piece  of  ground  in  Pall  Mall,  now 
the  front  court  yard,  for  31  years,  which  were  valued  at  ;^6oo  per  annum,  fine  £2,0  ;  new  rents 
£61.  5.  o.  and  £12,.  15.  o." — Malcolm's  Londitium  Redivivum,  vol.  iv.  p.  317. 

H 


114    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

of  architectural  fashion.  And  just  as  those  of  the  Augustan  age  will 
look  in  vain  for  an  unmutilated  Schomberg  House,  so  shall  we  in  a  few 
years'  time  seek  fruitlessly  for  the  solid  and  dreary  edifice  which  occupied 
the  better  part  of  its  site.  No  longer  does  the  activity  of  the  War 
Office  simmer  in  Pall  Mall ;  no  longer  does  Sidney  Herbert  muse,  and 
turn  his  back  upon  it ;  for  just  as  the  original  building  gave  way  to  its 
dreary  successor,  so  will  that  upstart  be  one  day  supplanted  by  yet  another 
club,  before  whose  doors  the  panting  motor  will  heave  where  once  the 
stately  sedan  was  solemnly  set  down. 

It  is  curious  how  few  who  tread  the  streets  raise  their  eyes  to  the 
upper  stories  of  houses  or  shops,  and  this  is  perhaps  accountable  for  the 
fact  that  when  a  landmark  vanishes  its  outward  semblance  is  so  soon  for- 
gotten ;  but  Schomberg  House,  or  rather  the  fragment  of  it  that  still 
exists,  compels  attention  from  the  unwonted  nature  of  its  architectural 
features ;  the  eye  thus  attracted  becomes  conscious  of  the  circular  tablet 
which,  after  much  wrestling  with  the  dirt  that  habitually  begrimes 
it,  at  length  makes  us  aware  that  Gainsborough  here  breathed  his  last, 
and  so  the  place  has  come  to  have  for  many  an  interest  from  the  fact 
alone  that  here  the  great  artist  painted  his  imperishable  portraits,  played 
on  his  beloved  fiddle,  and  in  the  last  scene  of  all  saw  himself  wafted  to 
the  celestial  mansions  in  Vandyck's  company.  And  there  is  little  doubt 
but  that  this  association  makes  for  the  chief  glory  of  the  place  ;  but  it 
has  had  a  far  earlier  history  :  it  has  been  connected  with  other  great 
names,  as  we  shall  see. 

Schomberg  House,  which,  by-the-bye,  is  numbered  8i  and  82  Pall  Mall, 
preserves  in  its  name  the  title  of  the  illustrious  first  Duke  of  Schomberg 
who  was  killed  at  the  Battle  of  the  Boyne,  and  over  whose  death  even 
the  impassive  William  HI.  wept  ;  but  it  was  not  he  who  built  the  place  ; 
the  credit  of  this  belongs  to  his  third  son,  who,  in  1693,  succeeded  to  the 
dukedom  on  the  death  of  his  younger  brother,  the  fifth  son  of  the  first 
Duke,  who  by  a  curious  arrangement  first  inherited  the  title  which  never 
passed  to  the  eldest  son  of  the  first  Duke  at  all,  although  he  was  living 
even  at  the  time  of  the  third  Duke's  accession. 

Before  the  erection  of  Schomberg  House,  its  site  had  been  occupied 
by  a  less  imposing  dwelling,  which,  according  to  Timbs,  was  built  in  1650, 
and  was  described  as  "  a  fair  mansion,  enclosed  with  a  garden  abutting 
on  Pall  Mall,  and  near  to  Charing  Cross,"  at  a  time  when  Pall  Mall  was 
planted  with  elm  trees,  and  when  the  half-a-dozen  houses  then  in  exist- 
ence on  the  south  side  of  the  street  were  surrounded  "  by  large  meadows, 
always  green,  in  which  the  ladies  walked  in  summer  time."  Ten  years 
later,    the    house   was    occupied    by,    amongst   others,    Edward   Griffin, 


SCHOMBERG  HOUSE  115 

Treasurer  of  the  Chamber,  and  by  the  Countess  of  Portland,  probably 
the  widow  of  the  second  Earl,  a  daughter  of  the  Duke  of  Lennox. 

The  new  house  was  erected  on  this  spot  about  1698,  and  Narcissus 
Luttrell  thus  refers  to  the  circumstance,  under  date  of  November  5th 
of  that  year  :  "  Portland  House  in  the  Pall  Mall  is  rebuilt,  and  will  be 
richly  furnished  for  Duke  Schomberg,  General  of  the  forces  in  England." 
From  the  same  authority  we  learn  that  a  grant  of  no  less  than  ^^4000  a 
year  had  been  made  the  Duke  two  years  previously,  being  the  interest 
on  the  ^100,000  which  had  been  given  by  Parliament  to  the  first  Duke, 
apparently  for  his  lifetime  only  ;  so  that  he  was  in  a  condition  to  keep 
up  a  fine  house. 

The  furnishing  must  have  been  completed  expeditiously,  for  in 
January  1699,  ^^  ^^^^  °^  Schomberg  entertaining  here  "  in  a  splendid 
manner,"  the  French  Ambassador,  the  Duke  of  Ormonde,  "  and  other 
persons  of  quality";  while  on  September  10,  1703,  he  gave  a  banquet 
here  to  the  Portuguese  and  Prussian  Ambassadors  and  others. 

Later  in  the  same  year  Schomberg  House  was  like  to  have  been 
destroyed,  for  a  party  of  disbanded  soldiers  who  thought  they  had  a 
grudge  against  its  owner  as  Commander-in-Chief,  assembled  before  the 
mansion  and  would  probably  have  succeeded  in  demolishing  it  but  for  the 
timely  arrival  of  the  military.  The  following  entry  in  Luttrell's  Diary 
for  October  lOth  of  this  year,  indirectly  bears  on  this  circumstance  : 
"  Yesterday  one  Murray,  a  disbanded  trooper,  was  convicted  at  the 
quarter  sessions  for  Westminster  for  speaking  reflecting  words  on  Duke 
Schomberg ;  his  wife  was  also  convicted  for  speaking  seditious  words 
against  his  majestic." 

Among  the  interior  decorations  of  Schomberg  House  were  the  paint- 
ings on  the  grand  staircase,  which  were  the  work  of  Peter  Berchett,  who 
came  to  England  about  this  time  (he  had  previously  paid  a  visit  of  a 
year's  duration,  in  168 1),  and  was  employed  to  paint  the  ceiling  of  Trinity 
College  Chapel,  Oxford,  as  well  as  the  summer  house  at  Ranelagh. 
William  HL  engaged  him  to  decorate  his  newly-erected  Palace  at  Loo, 
on  which  he  was  engaged  fifteen  months,  after  which  he  came  a  third 
time  to  this  country,  and  died  in  Marylebone  in  1720. 

The  Duke  of  Schomberg  died  in  17 19,  when  Schomberg  House  passed 
into  the  possession  of  his  daughter  and  co-heiress,  Frederica,  who  had 
married  four  years  previously  the  third  Earl  of  Holdernesse,  two  years 
after  whose  death  in  1722,  she  married  Benjamin  Mildmay,  created 
Viscount  Harwich  and  Earl  Fitzwalter  in  1730. 

J  propos  of  this  lady  a  story  is  told  which  indicates  that  she  had  little 
feeling  for  the  memory  of  her  grandfather,  the  first  Duke.     His  body 


ii6    THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

was  buried  in  Dublin  Cathedral,  and  Swift,  anxious  that  a  monument 
should  be  erected  to  his  memory  there,  wrote  to  Lady  Holdernesse  and 
asked  her  for  fifty  pounds  towards  the  expenses,  but  no  notice  was  taken 
of  his  appeal ;  whereupon  the  angry  Dean  erected  a  tablet  at  his  own 
charge  and  took  occasion,  in  the  inscription,  to  reflect  on  the  conduct  of 
Lady  Holdernesse  ;  upon  which  Dagenfeldt  (who  had  married  Lady 
Holdernesse's  sister  Mary),  at  that  time  envoy  from  Prussia  to  the  English 
court,  complained  of  Swift's  conduct,  which  brought  the  latter  into 
disfavour  at  court. 

Schomberg  House  is,  or  rather  was — for  the  west  wing  that  remains 
is  but  a  fragment  of  the  building — a  very  characteristic  example  of  the 
architecture  of  the  period  ;  but  who  was  responsible  for  its  design  is, 
unfortunately,  not  recorded.  I  am  not  disinclined  to  think,  however, 
that  Captain  Winde,  who  was  responsible  for  Buckingham  House,  as  well 
as  for  Newcastle  House,  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields,  may  have  had  a  hand 
in  it.^ 

Lord  Holdernesse  died  in  1722,  and  his  son  apparently  succeeded 
him  in  the  possession  of  the  place,  probably  after  the  death  of  his  mother 
the  Dowager  Lady  Holdernesse  who,  as  we  have  seen,  married  en  second, 
noces  Earl  Fitzwalter,  for  I  find  that  the  mansion  was  let  by  Lord 
Holdernesse  to  the  Duke  of  Cumberland — "the  Butcher" — in  1760, 
when,  on  the  accession  of  his  nephew  George  HL,  he  was  obliged  to  vacate 
St.  James's  Palace,  and  it  was  then  known  as  Cumberland  House,  by 
which  name  it  is  shown  in  Horwood's  map  of  London,  dated  1796.  The 
Duke  probably  lived  here  till  his  death  in  1765,  in  which  year  it  is  known 
to  have  been  sold,  at  the  remarkably  low  figure  of  ^5000,  to  John  Astley 
the  portrait-painter,  who  seems  to  have  been  rather  indebted  to  good 
fortune  than  to  genius  for  the  success  he  achieved.  He  was  a  pupil  of 
Hudson,  and  after  this  novitiate  travelled  in  Italy  ;  returning  home, 
he  settled  in  Dublin,  where  his  handsome  face  and  engaging  manners, 
quite  as  much  as  any  talent  he  may  have  possessed,  enabled  him  to  make 
a  small  fortune.  He  determined  to  set  up  as  a  fashionable  portrait- 
painter  in  London,  and  on  the  way  thither  he  became  acquainted  with 
the  widow  of  Sir  William  Daniel,  who  was  besides  an  heiress  possessed  of 
considerable  estates  in  Cheshire  ;  this  lady,  with  her  ;^5ooo  a  year,  he 
married,  and  henceforth  painted  rather  for  amusement  than  profit,  and 
divided  his  time  between  a  dilettante  following  of  art  and  the  existence 
of  a  beau  of  the  period.     The  well-known  story  told  of  Astley  must  have 

'  It  is  amusing  to  read  in  Hare's  Walks  in  London  that  the  house  was  built  by  Meinhardt 
for  the  "  great  Duke  of  Schomberg."  Meinhardt  was  the  Christian  name  of  the  third  Duke  for 
whom  the  house  was  erected.     The  '  great  Duke '  was  the  first  Duke,  killed  at  the  Boyne. 


SCHOMBERG   HOUSE  117 

had  its  origin  in  his  pre-nuptial  days  before  fortune  smiled  upon  him  ; 
for  it  is  said  that  once  being  one  of  a  company  at  a  country  outing,  he 
for  long  refused  to  take  off  his  coat,  as  his  companions  had  done,  but  at 
last  the  heat  of  the  sun  was  too  much  for  him,  and  he  was  compelled 
to  pull  off  his  outer  garment,  when,  lo  and  behold  !  the  back  of  his 
shirt  was  seen  to  represent  a  waterfall ;  he  had  wrapped  himself, 
faute  de  mieux,  in  one  of  his  unsold  canvases.  When  Astley  pur- 
chased Schomberg  House  he  divided  it  into  three  portions,  reserving  for 
himself  the  main  building,  over  the  entrance  of  which  he  placed  a 
medallion  group  of  "  Painting,"  which  was  his  own  work.  On  the  top 
storey  he  reserved  a  suite  of  rooms  for  his  own  private  use,  and  on  the 
roof  built  a  large  studio  which  he  termed  his  "  country  house."  He 
died  in  1787,  and  it  was  during  his  period  of  possession  that,  in  1780,  the 
Gordon  rioters  threatened  to  demolish  the  building  ;  simply,  one  sup- 
poses, because  of  its  being  a  landmark  rather  than  from  any  particular 
antagonism  on  the  part  of  the  rioters  to  its  owner. 

In  this  memorable  year  Astley  left  Schomberg  House,  letting  the 
portion  he  had  occupied  to  that  notorious  quack  Dr.  Graham,  who  opened 
here  what  he  called  his  Temple  of  Health,  where  he  subjected  his  patients 
to  the  soothing  influences  of  his  "  Celestial  Bed,"  and  where  the  goddess 
of  health  was  personified  by  a  beautiful  woman  named  Prescott.  Graham 
ornamented  the  front  of  Schomberg  House  with  a  statue  of  Hygeia  and 
other  emblematic  advertisements,  and  although  he  charged  two  guineas 
a  head  entrance  fee  to  his  lecture  on  health,  or  perhaps  because  of  the 
largeness  of  the  sum,  fashionable  London  crowded  to  his  magnificently 
decorated  rooms.  Horace  Walpole  was,  of  course,  a  visitor,  but  he  de- 
tected the  empiricism  of  the  worthy  Doctor,  for  he  tells  Lady  Ossory,  on 
August  23,  1780,  that  "  it  Is  the  most  impudent  puppet  show  of  imposition 
I  ever  saw,  and  the  mountebank  himself  the  dullest  of  his  profession." 

When  his  absurdities  ceased  to  attract  in  London,  Graham  tried  them 
in  various  provincial  towns,  and  after  many  adventures  died  in  1794, 
notwithstanding  his  assertion  that  he  had  discovered  the  Elixir  of  Life  !  ^ 

After  Graham's  departure  Richard  Cosway  occupied  the  centre  of 
the  house,  and  here  Mrs.  Cosway  also  painted  and  gave  her  celebrated 
musical  parties.  From  1770  to  1780,  Cosway  was  living  in  Berkeley  Street, 
Piccadilly,  and  it  was  here  that  he  first  attracted  the  notice  of  the  Prince  of 
Wales,  whose  portrait  he  so  often  produced,  so  that  when  he  took  up 
his  residence  at  Schomberg  House,  he  was  in  the  heyday  of  his  fame  ; 
he,  however,  only  remained  here  five  years,  removing  to  Stratford  Place 
in  1792. 

'  For  an  interesting  account  of  Graham   see  Timbs's  Roman:c  of  Loudon. 


ii8     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

The  portion  of  the  house  that  had  been  occupied  by  Cosway  was, 
after  the  termination  of  his  tenancy,  used  by  the  so-called  Polygraphic 
Society,  where  "  wretched  copies  of  good  pictures,"  according  to 
J.  T.  Smith,  were  exhibited  ;  later  it  became  the  headquarters  of  Bryan 
the  picture-dealer  ;  anon  Coxe  the  once  famous  auctioneer  took  it ;  and 
later  still  it  was  the  bookshop  of  the  celebrated  Tom  Payne,  the  Quaritch 
of  the  day,  who  came  here  in  1806,  and  was  succeeded  by  Messrs.  Payne 
and  Foss ;  while,  as  if  to  add  to  its  artistic  associations,  Jervas,  the  friend  of 
Pope,  and  a  portrait-painter  of  some  merit,  as  well  as  Nathaniel  Hone, 
who  died  in  1784,  were  numbered  among  former  tenants  of  this  portion 
of  the  once  noble  old  house,  as  was  also  Robert  Bowyer,  miniature-painter 
to  Queen  Charlotte,  who  exhibited  at  Schomberg  House  his  Historic 
Gallery,  consisting  of  pictures  and  prints  illustrating  the  annals  of  this 
country,  which,  in  1807,  he  disposed  of  by  lottery,  ParUament  having 
passed  an  Act  expressly  authorising  him  to  do  so. 

But  a  pre-eminent  painter  was  to  be  associated  with  Schomberg 
House,  in  the  person  of  the  great  Gainsborough,  who  rented  the  west 
wing  of  the  mansion  from  Astley,  in  1774,  paying  ;^3oo  a  year  for  it.  Here 
he  lived  and  painted  till  his  death  in  1788,  and  here  were  produced  some 
of  those  masterpieces  which  are  to-day  the  glory  of  British  art.  Walpole 
specifically  mentions  his  executing  here  "  the  large  landscape  in  the  style 
of  Rubens,  and  by  far  the  finest  landscape  ever  painted  in  England,  and 
equal  to  the  great  masters." 

The  ten  years  of  Gainsborough's  activity  here  were  the  most 
triumphant  of  his  career.  To  mention  merely  the  names  of  the  great 
and  beautiful  who  trod  the  stairs  of  Schomberg  House,  would  be  to 
recapitulate  the  titles  of  the  most  famous  men  and  women  of  the  day  ; 
from  royalty  downwards — and  he  painted  all  George  HI.'s  large  family 
more  than  once,  and  even,  as  has  been  said,  made  Queen  Charlotte 
look  picturesque — every  one  came  here  or  to  Sir  Joshua's  in  Leicester 
Square,  and  not  infrequently  to  both.  These  two  remarkable  men 
monopolised  the  art  of  portrait-painting ;  there  were  other  competitors, 
but  at  what  an  immeasurable  distance  the  picture-galleries  of  to-day 
attest. 

Gainsborough  once  commenced  a  portrait  of  Sir  Joshua  here,  but 
only  one  sitting  was  given  before  Reynolds  had  to  go  to  Bath  on  account 
of  the  slight  paralysis  that  had  seized  him  ;  his  next  visit  was  to  the  death- 
bed of  his  great  rival,  who  had  several  of  his  unfinished  works  brought 
into  the  room  to  show  to  Sir  Joshua,  flattering  himself  that  he  would  live 
to  finish  them.  But  this  was  not  to  be  ;  and  in  July  1788  he  wrote 
and  begged  Reynolds  to  pay  him  a  last  visit.     The  scene  has  become 


SCHOMBERG   HOUSE  119 

historic.  "  If  any  little  jealousies  had  subsisted  between  us,"  says  Sir 
Joshua,  recounting  the  scene,  "  they  were  forgotten  in  those  moments 
of  sincerity  ;  and  he  turned  towards  me  as  one  who  was  engrossed  in  the 
same  pursuits,  and  who  deserved  his  good  opinion  by  being  sensible  of 
his  excellence."  It  was  on  this  notable  occasion  that  Gainsborough, 
looking  fixedly  at  his  brother  artist,  uttered  those  memorable  last  words  : 
"  We  are  all  going  to  heaven,  and  Vandyck  is  of  the  company." 

The  east  wing  of  Schomberg  House,  as  well  as  the  main  building, 
had  its  commercial  uses,  for  here,  for  a  time,  the  business  premises  of  Messrs. 
Dyde  &  Scribe,  who  were  succeeded  by  Harding  much  patronised  by 
George  III.  and  his  family,  were  established. 

In  1850,  when  it  was  found  necessary  to  enlarge  the  War  Office,  in 
those  days  called  the  Ordnance  Office  which  occupied  the  sites  of  the 
former  residences  of  the  Dukes  of  York  and  Buckingham,  the  east  wing 
of  Schomberg  House  was  pulled  down  for  the  purpose  and  replaced  by 
one  of  those  so-called  classic  buildings  in  which  the  period  delighted.^ 
Such  a  piece  of  vandalism  would  nowadays  hardly  be  permitted  by 
public  opinion,  one  likes  to  think,  but  in  those  times  it  was  probably  con- 
sidered an  "  improvement  "  to  mutilate  a  fine  building,  which  in  spite 
of  its  internal  divisions  outwardly  preserved  its  original  appearance,  and 
to  erect  in  its  place  a  heavy  and  meaningless  specimen  of  architecture. 


UXBRIDGE  HOUSE 

It  is  not  a  very  far  cry  from  Pall  Mall  to  Burlington  Gardens,  and 
here  stands  a  splendid  specimen  of  later  Georgian  architecture  at  its 
best.  It  is  true  that  it  has  passed  from  the  private  uses  for  which  it  was 
erected,  but,  notwithstanding  this  as  well  as  the  fact  that  some  additions 
have  been  made  to  it,  it  preserves  substantially  its  original  appearance,  and 
may  weU  take  its  place  among  the  great  houses  which  alone  keep  up  the 
memory  of  their  former  stateliness  by  retaining  their  essential  features 
unmutilated. 

Uxbridge  House,  now  used  as  the  Western  Branch  of  the  Bank  of 
England,  which  I  here  indicate,  stands  on  the  site  of  an  earlier  residence 
known  as  Queensberry  House,  which  Giacomo  Leoni,  a  Venetian 
architect  who  settled  in  England  where  he  died  in  1746,  designed,  in 
1726,  for  the  second  Duke  of  Queensberry.  The  site  occupies  a  portion 
of  that  Ten  Acres  Field,  the  building  development  of  which  was  begun 
about  1 7 16,  and  which  was  part  of  the  property  of  the  Earl  of  Burlington, 

'  In  later  days  the  War  Office  occupied  till  quite  recently  the  whole  of  Schomberg  House. 


I20    THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

from  whose  titles  Burlington  Street  and  Gardens,  and  Cork  Street  are 
named.^  Queensberry  House  appears  to  have  been  one  of  the  earliest 
residences  erected  on  this  spot,  and  its  appearance  can  be  still  studied 
in  Picart's  view  of  it  produced  at  the  time  of  its  completion.  It  was 
in  the  classic  style,  the  front  being  decorated  by  six  Ionic  columns 
dividing  the  windows  of  the  first  and  second  floors,  while  on  the  top  of 
the  fa9ade  stood  six  life-size  figures.  Even  Ralph  only  found  fault  with 
its  situation  as  being  "  over  against  a  dead  wall  (that  of  Burlington  House 
gardens  apparently),  and  in  a  lane  unworthy  of  so  grand  a  building." 
The  critic,  remarking  that  it  was  in  the  style  of  Inigo  Jones,  takes  occasion 
to  make  the  observation  that  "  a  beautiful  imitation  is  of  abundantly 
more  value  than  a  bad  original ;  and  he  that  could  copy  excellencies 
so  well,  could  not  want  a  great  deal  of  his  own."  * 

Here  the  Duke  of  Queensberry  and  his  celebrated  Duchess,'  Prior's 
"  Kitty,  Beautiful  and  Young,"  lived  when  in  town,  and  here  their  protegi 
Gay,  the  poet,  passed  much  of  his  time,  his  health  and  comfort  being 
attended  to  by  the  Duchess  with  almost  maternal  solicitude,  and  his 
worldly  affairs  looked  after  by  the  Duke.  It  was  in  Queensberry  House 
that,  after  an  illness  of  but  three  days'  duration,  he  died  on  Decem- 
ber 5,  1734,  and  from  here  his  body  was  taken  to  Exeter  Change,  where 
it  lay  in  state,  until  conveyed  on  December  23rd,  to  the  Abbey  where 
it  rests  beneath  the  sumptuous  monument  set  up  by  his  patron  to  his 
honour,  and  carved  by  the  great  Rysbraek. 

The  Duchess  died  in  this  house,  where  she  had  passed  half  a  century 
of  her  long  life.  She  was  as  eccentric  in  old  age  as  she  had  been  beautiful 
in  her  youth  ;  and  an  example  of  her  "  manner  "  is  given  by  Walpole  in 
a  well-known  anecdote.  Horace  himself.  Lord  Lome,  and  George  Selwyn 
were  at  one  of  her  balls  here,  in  1764,  when,  finding  the  dancing-room 
cold,  the  trio  retired  to  an  adjoining  apartment  where  there  was  a  fire. 
The  act  did  not  escape  her  Grace's  notice,  who,  saying  nothing,  there 
and  then  sent  for  a  carpenter  and  had  the  door  taken  off  its  hinges  ! 
Indifferent  to  public  opinion,  she  never  followed  new  fashions,  but  con- 
tinued to  dress  in  the  mode  of  her  early  youth  ;  and  when,  at  St.  James's 
under  the  very  nose  of  the  King,  she  solicited  subscriptions  for  Gay's 
Polly,  the  sequel  to  The  Beggar'' s  Opera  which  had  given  such  annoyance 

•  Burlington  Street  was  called  Nowell  Street  till  1733. 

^  Critical  Review  of  Public  Buildings,  17S3,  p.  195.  In  Britton  and  Pugin's  Public  Buildings 
of  London,  is  an  elevation  and  plan  of  Uxbridge  House  showing  the  large  music-room 
incorporated  in  the  building,  which  reminds  us  of  the  Duke  of  Queensberry's  well-known  love 
of  that  art. 

'  Lady  Catherine  Hyde,  daughter  of  Henry,  Earl  of  Rochester,  married  the  Duke  of 
Queensberry  in  1720,  and  died  of  a  surfeit  of  strawberries,  on  July  17,  1777. 


UXBRIDGE   HOUSE  121 

to  royalty,  and  was  in  consequence  requested  to  retire  from  court,  she 
wrote  George  II.  probably  the  most  daringly  impertinent  letter  that  a 
subject  ever  addressed  to  a  sovereign  ! 

The  Duke  died  a  year  after  his  eccentric  Duchess,  when  Queensberry 
House  passed  into  the  possession  of  *'  old  Q."  ;  some  years  later,  however, 
it  was  purchased  by  Henry  (Bayley)  Paget,  who  was  created  Earl  of 
Uxbridge  in  1784.  For  some  reason  the  mansion  did  not  please  its  new 
owner,  who  commissioned  John  Vardy  to  design  a  new  house,  which  that 
architect  did  with  the  help  of  Joseph  Bonomi  so  far  as  the  front  was  con- 
cerned, and  the  present  building  was  erected  during  the  years  1790-2. 

Lord  Uxbridge  died  in  1 81 2,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  son,  the  well- 
known  soldier,  "  the  first  cavalry  officer  in  the  world,"  as  he  was  called, 
who,  according  to  Lord  William  Pitt  Lennox,  "  in  his  splendid  uniform, 
was  the  beau  ideal  of  a  dashing  hussar."  Lord  Uxbridge,  who,  as  is  known, 
lost  a  leg  at  Waterloo,  was  created  Marquis  of  Anglesey  a  few  weeks  after 
the  battle  had  been  fought,  for  his  services  there.  He  continued  to  live 
at  Uxbridge  House  till  his  death  here  on  April  29,  1854,  sometime  after 
which  event  the  mansion  was  sold  to  the  Directors  of  the  Bank  of 
England,  who  made  some  necessary  additions  to  it,  but  happily  pre- 
served in  the  state  rooms  on  the  first  floor  their  principal  decorative 
features,  including  the  beautiful  carved  marble  chimney-pieces. 

CAMBRIDGE   HOUSE 

Cambridge  House,  Piccadilly,  about  which  I  now  want  to  say  some- 
thing, is  not  the  largest  of  the  many  great  houses  in  this  thoroughfare  ; 
it  is  not  so  architecturally  imposing  as  No.  105,  which  Novosielski  built 
for  the  notorious  Lord  Barrymore  ;  it  probably  cost  but  a  tithe  of  what 
Hope  House,  at  the  south-east  corner  of  Dover  Street,  with  its  wonderful 
carvings  and  panellings,  must  have  done  ;  but  it  has  been  the  home  of  a 
number  of  notable  men  ;  and  it  has  a  political  significance  only  less 
marked,  because  of  lesser  duration,  than  that  attached  to  Devonshire 
House  or  Lansdowne  House.  Like  Barrymore  and  Hope  Houses,  it  has, 
however,  for  many  years  now  been  converted  into  a  club,  and  in  the  Naval 
and  Military,  or,  as  it  is  commonly  termed,  the  "  In  "  and  "  Out  "  Club, 
its  identity  as  the  famous  town  residence  of  Lord  Palmerston  has  been  to 
some  extent  merged. 

It  was  originally  known  as  Egremont  House,  having  been  the  re- 
sidence of  Charles  Wyndham,  second  Earl  Egremont,  for  whom  it  was 
probably  erected  during  the  latter  half  of  the  eighteenth  century. 
Dodsley,    who   published   his    Environs   of   London,    in    1761,    speaks    of 


122     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

it  as  being,  at  that  time,  "  the  last  house  built  in  Piccadilly,"  indicating 
that  it  was  then  the  most  westerly  mansion  at  this  point ;  Dodsley's 
further  remarks  are  as  substantially  true  of  the  place  to-day  as  they  were 
when  he  wrote  :  "  It  is  of  stone,"  he  says,  "  and  tho'  not  much  adorned, 
is  elegant,  and  well  situated  for  a  town  house,  having  a  line  view  over 
the  Green  Park,  which  would  be  still  more  extended  if  the  houses  on 
each  side  were  set  further  back."  It  was  erected  on  the  site  of  one  of 
the  innumerable  inns  that  at  one  time  congregated  together  in  this 
neighbourhood  ;  but  the  architect's  name  has  not  come  down  to  us, 
although  I  have  sometimes  thought  that  it  might  possibly  have  been 
designed  by  Sir  William  Chambers,  who,  in  1759,  had  published  his  treatise 
on  "  Civil  Architecture,"  and  who  may  have  restrained  his  prentice  hand 
to  the  unpretentious  though  dignified  style  that  characterises  Egremont 
House,  before  experience  and  success  urged  him  to  the  more  elaborate 
work  he  did  at  Somerset  House. 

The  political  importance  of  the  mansion  to  some  extent  commenced 
with  its  first  owner,  for  Lord  Egremont,  besides  being  the  first  Pleni- 
potentiary nominated  to  take  part  in  the  proposed  Congress  of  Augsburg, 
in  1761,  became  later  in  the  same  year.  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Southern 
department,  in  George  Grenville's  administration  (in  which  oflBce  he 
succeeded  William  Pitt),  a  post  he  held  till  his  death  on  August  21,  1763. 
Lord  Egremont  was  a  man  of  great  wealth  and  influence,  and  the  latter 
he  exerted  on  behalf  of  the  King's  struggle  against  the  oligarchy  of  the 
Whigs ;  and  with  the  help  of  his  friends  of  the  Cocoa  Tree  Club,  he  seems 
to  have  done  yeoman's  service  to  the  cause  he  espoused.  On  his  death, 
his  son,  who  succeeded  him  in  the  title,  continued  to  reside  at  Egremont 
House.  He  interested  himself  rather  in  agricultural  and  scientific 
matters  than  politics,  and  so  during  the  period  of  thirty  years  in  which 
he  made  Egremont  House  his  town  residence,  as  Petworth  was  his  country 
abode,  it  ceased  from  being  a  political  centre.  Mrs.  Delany  speaks  of  the 
third  Earl  as  "  a  pretty  man,"  Horace  Walpole  termed  him  a  handsome 
one,  and  even  Charles  Greville  calls  him  a  "  fine  old  fellow." 

Lord  Egremont  died  in  1837,  but  as  Lord  Cholmondeley  is  known 
to  have  been  residing  at  Egremont  House,  from  1822  to  1829,  it  is  probable 
that  he  purchased  it  in  the  former  year.  He  is  remembered  as  being 
Chamberlain  to  the  Prince  of  Wales,  in  1795,  and  Lord  Steward  of  the 
Household  from  1812  to  1821.  He  was  created  a  Marquis  in  18 15,  and 
received  the  Garter  in  1822,  the  year  in  which  he  is  first  traced  to  Egremont 
House,  the  name  of  which  he  changed  to  that  of  Cholmondeley  House, 
after  his  own  title.  He  died  in  1827,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  son,  the 
second  Marquis,  who,  after  occupying  the  place  for  two  years,  disposed 


CAMBRIDGE   HOUSE  123 

of  it  to  the  Duke  of  Cambridge,  who  lived  here,  till  his  death,  which 
took  place  in  this  house,  on  July  8,  1850.  During  the  period  of  his  Royal 
Highness's  occupation  the  mansion  was  again  renamed,  and  as  Cambridge 
House  it  was  henceforth  known  until  it  was  acquired  by  the  club  which 
still  occupies  it.  What  might  have  been  a  tragic  event  once  nearly 
happened  here,  while  the  Royal  Duke  was  in  possession,  for  it  was  when 
leaving  the  house,  on  one  occasion,  after  a  visit  to  the  Duke,  that  Queen 
Victoria  was  assaulted  by  a  madman,  though  happily  without  serious  con- 
sequences. 

In  the  year  of  the  Duke's  death,  Lord  Palmerston  took  the  house, 
and  here  until  his  death  at  Brocket  Hall  in  1865,  it  was  the  headquarters 
of  the  Whigs.  Five  years  after  he  had  made  Cambridge  House  his  London 
residence,  he  became  Prime  Minister,  which  office  he  held,  with  one 
break  when  Lord  Derby  was  Premier  from  1858-1859,  continuously  till 
his  death  ;  so  that  the  political  significance  of  Cambridge  House  during 
these  ten  years  is  particularly  marked. 

It  is  a  matter  of  common  knowledge  that  the  frequent  and  splendid 
entertainments  given  here,  together  with  the  charm  and  tact  of  Lady 
Palmerston,  did  more  than  can  be  readily  estimated  to  keep  the  party 
together,  and  to  extend  and  strengthen  the  popularity  of  its  leader, 
"  the  frolicsome  statesman,  the  man  of  the  day,"  as  Locker-Lampson 
calls  him.  The  memoirs  and  letters  of  the  period  are  full  of  references 
to  both  these  aids  to  the  enhancement  of  "  Pam's  "  glory  and  reputation, 
but  notice  of  Cambridge  House  is  here  too  slight  to  permit  me 
to  recapitulate  any  of  them,  which,  besides,  my  readers  would  probably 
find  unnecessary,  so  frequent  and  well-known  are  they. 

On  Lord  Palmerston's  death,  his  body  was  carried  to  the  Abbey  from 
Cambridge  House,  the  procession  forming  one  of  the  most  impressive 
of  the  many  pageants  that  have  passed,  at  one  time  or  another,  through 
Piccadilly. 

After  this  period  of  the  mansion's  prosperity  and  fame  had  closed, 
there  was  a  suggestion  that  it  should  be  demolished  and  a  Roman 
Catholic  cathedral  built  on  its  site  ;  but  luckily  other  counsels  pre- 
vailed, and  although,  in  its  metamorphosis  into  a  club-house,  it  has  lost 
something  of  its  original  character,  it  remains,  so  far  as  its  exterior  is 
concerned,  substantially  as  it  has  always  been  ;  ^  and  if,  as  I  have  heard 
it  rumoured,  the  ground  landlord  at  the  near  expiration  of  the  club's 
lease,  comes  himself  to  dwell  In  it,  it  may  probably  have  a  further  long 
life  as  one  of  the  lesser  private  palaces  of  the  West  End. 

•  An  addition  was  made  by  the  club  by  the  formation  of  a  low  west  wing  at  right  angles  to 
the  main  structure. 


124    THE    PRIVATE    PALACES    OF   LONDON 

MELBOURNE   HOUSE,   NOW   THE   ALBANY 

Just  as  Cambridge  House  has  become  identified  with  club  life  in  the 
ordinary  acceptation  of  the  term,  so  the  great  house  now  known  as  the 
'  Albany '  has  come  to  be  regarded  as  a  sort  of  Club  Lodging  House 
for  Private  Gentlemen  of  a  kind  absolutely  sui  generis.  So  long,  indeed, 
has  it  flourished  under  these  conditions,  that  not  within  the  memory  of 
any  one,  has  it  been  anything  else,  and  just  before  its  conversion  to  these 
uses,  it  was  for  a  short  time  the  residence  of  a  Royal  Duke  ;  but  during 
its  earlier  days  it  could  be  properly  considered  a  private  palace,  and  as 
such  must  not  be  omitted  from  these  pages.  Like  many  another  great 
mansion  it  had  a  precursor  in  this  spot,  which  in  turn  was  preceded  by 
three  separate  houses ;  of  these  the  centre  one  was  occupied  at  one 
time  by  Lady  Stanhope,  and  afterwards  by  the  Countess  of  Denbigh.^ 
The  Countess  Stanhope,  daughter  of  Thomas  Pitt,  Esq.,  was  the  wife  of 
the  first  Earl,  who  died  in  172 1,  and  as  she  outlived  him  just  two  years, 
it  may  probably  have  been  during  this  period  of  her  widowhood  that  she 
resided  here.  The  Countess  of  Denbigh  was  presumably  the  wife  of  the 
fifth  Earl ;  she  was  Dutch  by  birth,  being  the  daughter  of  Peter  de 
Jonge,  of  Utrecht.  Lady  Mary  Wortley  Montagu  refers  to  her  some- 
what disparagingly  in  a  letter  to  Lady  Mar,  and  from  what  she  says, 
it  is  not  improbable  that  Lady  Denbigh  lived  separately  from  her  lord  ; 
in  a  subsequent  letter  Lady  Mary  again  mentions  her  and  her  doings 
thus  :  "  I  had  almost  forgot  our  dear  and  amiable  cousin  Lady  Denbigh, 
who  has  blazed  out  all  the  winter  ;  she  has  brought  with  her  from  Paris 
cart-loads  of  riband,  surprising  fashions,  and  complexion  of  the  last 
edition,  which  naturally  attracts  all  the  she  and  he  fools  in  London,  and 
accordingly  she  is  surrounded  by  a  little  court  of  both,  and  keeps  a 
Sunday  assembly  to  show  she  has  learned  to  play  at  cards  on  that  day." 

If  I  am  right  in  identifying  the  occupier  of  the  centre  house  with 
this  Lady  Denbigh,  it  was  in  all  probability  here  that  she  in  turn  amused 
and  shocked  London.* 

The  house  on  the  west  side  was,  so  early  as  1675,  the  residence  of 
Sir  Thomas  Clarges,  and  was  then  described  as  being  "  near  Burlington 
House  above  Piccadilly."  This  Sir  Thomas,  who  died  in  1695  and  left 
^5000  a  year  to  his  son  Sir  Walter,  was  the  brother-in-law  of  the  Duke 

'  Wheatley's  Round  About  Piccadilly,  to  which  I  am  indebted  for  much  of  the  information 
regarding  "  Albany." 

*  Without  any  actual  data,  I  may  be  wrong  ;  and  the  Lady  Denbigh  who  resided  here 
may  have  been  the  widow  of  the  fourth  Earl  who  died  in  1717.  She  was  Hester,  daughter  of 
Sir  Basil  Firebrass,  Bt. 


MELBOURNE   HOUSE  125 

of  Albemarle,  who  had  in  this  very  year  purchased  Clarendon  House 
close  by.  The  Clarges  family  owned  property  on  the  north  of  Piccadilly, 
and  Clarges  Street  perpetuates  its  name.  At  one  time  a  lease  of  it  had 
been  granted  to  Mr.  Neale,  who  built  the  Seven  Dials  and  introduced 
lotteries  into  this  country  ;  ^  but  he  not  fulfilling  certain  stipulations, 
Sir  Walter  Clarges  recovered  the  lease  and  developed  the  property  him- 
self. A  later  Sir  Thomas  Clarges,  who  died  in  1759,  was  the  friend  of 
Swift,  and  married  Barbara,  the  youngest  daughter  of  John  Berkeley, 
fourth  Lord  Fitzhardinge. 

In  1 71 5  the  house  I  am  speaking  of  was  in  the  occupation  of  Sir  John 
Clarges  ;  but  seven  years  earlier  it  had  been  let  for  a  term  to  the  Venetian 
Ambassador,  probably  Signer  Bianchi,  who  filled  that  post  in  17 10,  and 
whose  coach,  "  the  most  monstrous,  huge,  fine,  rich  gilt  thing,"  Swift 
mentions  in  one  of  his  letters  to  Stella.  About  this  time  Hatton  *  calls 
the  place  "  a  stately  new  building." 

The  house  next  to  this  on  the  east  side  was  the  residence  of  the  third 
Earl  of  Sunderland.  It  does  not  appear  when  he  first  came  to  reside 
here,  but  an  advertisement  in  the  Taller  confirms  his  residence  here  as 
early  as  January  1710.  In  course  of  time  Lord  Sunderland  purchased 
the  other  two  houses,  and  joined  them  to  his  own,  making  a  splendid, 
if  not  uniformly  architectural,  mansion  for  himself.  He  was  the  great 
bibliophile  who  collected  the  famous  Sunderland  Library,  which  having 
passed  to  the  Marlborough  family,  was  dispersed  about  a  quarter  of  a 
century  ago,  and  in  addition  to  the  transformation  of  three  residences  into 
one,  he  built  a  fine  room  here  for  the  reception  of  his  treasures.  Macky, 
in  1 7 14,  speaks  of  the  "  Palace  of  the  Earl  of  Sunderland  where,"  he  says, 
"you  will  see  the  finest  private  library  in  Europe,  and  which  surpasses 
many  of  the  public  ones  "  ;  while  in  a  book  entitled  The  History  of  the 
Present  State  of  the  British  Islands,  published  in  1743,^  is  the  following 
account  of  Lord  Sunderland's  House  as  thus  altered  and  enlarged  :  "  Next 
to  Burlington  House  is  the  Earl  of  Sunderland's  *  with  a  high  wall  like- 
wise before  it,  which  hides  it  from  the  street,  and  tho'  it  be  inferior  to 
the  former  in  many  other  respects,  yet  the  library  is  look'd  upon  as  one 
of  the  completest  in  England,  whether  we  regard  the  beauty  of  the 
building,  or  the  books  that  fill  it.  This  edifice  is  an  hundred  and  fifty 
foot  in  length,  divided  into  five  apartments,  having  an  upper  and  a 
lower  range  of  windows  and  galleries  that  go  round  the  whole  for  the 
conveniency  of  taking  down  the  books.     It  was  collected  chiefly  by  the 

'  See  Evelyn's  Diary,  October  5,  1694.  -'  .Wrc  View  0/ London. 

^  Quoted  in  Round  About  Piccadilly. 

*  He  died  in  1722,  and  his  son,  the  fourth  Earl,  in  1729. 


126    THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

late  Lord  Sunderland,  who  left  no  place  unsearched  to  replenish  it  with 
the  most  valuable  books,  and  among  the  rest  here  is  a  greater  variety 
of  editions  of  the  classicks  than  is  to  be  met  with  in  any  other  library." 

The  fifth  Earl  of  Sunderland,  brother  of  the  fourth  Earl,  succeeded 
to  the  Dukedom  of  Marlborough  in  1733,  when  certain  country  estates 
together  with  Sunderland  House  passed  to  the  Hon.  James  Spencer,  a 
brother  of  the  new  Duke,  and  the  father  of  the  John  Spencer  who  became 
first  Earl  Spencer  in  1765.^ 

Many  years  later  we  find  the  house  in  the  possession  of  Henry,  first 
Lord  Holland,  who,  however,  sold  it,  in  1770,  to  the  first  Lord  Melbourne, 
who  had  been  elevated  to  that  title  the  same  year,  and  was  probably 
anxious  to  have  a  town  house  suitable  to  his  newly  acquired  dignity,  and  a 
fitting  home  for  his  beautiful  wife  whom  he  had  married  in  the  previous 
year,  and  of  whom.  Lady  Sarah  Lennox,  in  a  letter  to  Lady  Susan 
O'Brien,  says  :  "  She  is  liked  by  everybody  high  and  low  and  of  all  denomi- 
nations, which  I  don't  wonder  at,  for  she  is  pleasing,  sensible,  and 
desirous  of  pleasing,  I  hear,  which  must  receive  admiration." 

In  order  to  make  the  place  still  more  imposing.  Lord  Melbourne 
pulled  down  the  old  mansion,  and  erected  the  present  house  from 
designs  by  Sir  William  Chambers.  He  seems,  however,  to  have  pre- 
served the  wall  facing  Piccadilly,  for  Ralph  mentions  it  as  being  only 
less  objectionable  than  that  in  front  of  Burlington  House,  because  it 
happened  to  be  smaller  ;  he  also  criticises  the  pediment  surmounting  the 
gateway  as  "  heavy,"  and  the  mansion  itself  he  dismisses  as  deserving 
"  neither  censure  nor  praise  "  ;  which  negative  criticism  may  perhaps, 
from  such  a  writer  as  Ralph,  be  considered  as  fairly  favourable. 

The  interior  of  the  new  house  was  elaborately  decorated,  and  we  hear 
of  the  ball-room  being  painted  by  Cipriani  ;  while  Wheatley  and  Rebecca 
were  employed  to  embellish  other  apartments. 

Wheatley  was  a  young  man  of  about  twenty-five  when  he  was 
employed  on  this  work,  and  a  little  later  he  is  known  to  have  assisted 
in  painting  the  ceiling  at  Lord  Melbourne's  country  seat.  Brocket  Hall  ; 
but  in  later  life  he  confined  himself  to  those  delightful  genre  scenes  and 
portraits  for  which  he  is  celebrated. 

Rebecca  is  little  known,  although  Mrs.  Papendiek  calls  him  "  cele- 
brated" in  1790,  when  he  was  employed  in  decorating  the  border  of  the 
canopy  in  the  throne-room  at  Windsor,  a  work  which  George  HL  was 
constantly  watching,  we  are  told.  Rebecca  seems  to  have  had  an  extra- 
ordinary facility  for  imitating  inanimate  objects  ;  thus  he  once  drew  a 
full-length  portrait  of  Horn  the  musician  standing  in  the  music -room  at 

'  See  Mrs.  Dclan^s  Autobiography. 


MELBOURNE   HOUSE  127 

Windsor.  The  King  entering,  and  thinking  it  was  the  actual  man,  bade 
him  sit  down  ;  another  time  Horn  appeared  to  be  standing  in  every  one's 
way,  and  an  equerry  asked  him  to  move,  when  Rebecca  darted  forward 
and  removed  the  iigure  he  had  made ;  and  still  more  extraordinary,  on 
one  occasion  the  King  entered  a  room  and  saw,  as  he  thought,  a  live  coal 
burning  on  the  hearthrug,  on  which  he  called  for  Harris,  the  major-domo 
of  Windsor,  and  exclaimed,  "  I  have  so  often  told  you  to  be  more  careful 
of  the  fires,"  whereupon  Harris  ran  forward  and  picked  up  the  object 
and  threw  it  into  the  fire  ;  when  it  was  discovered  to  be  another 
of  Rebecca's  wonderful  tricks. 

But  this  has  carried  us  far  from  Melbourne  House,  which  in  1791, 
Lord  Melbourne  exchanged  with  the  Duke  of  York  for  York,  formerly 
Dover  House,  afterwards  known  as  Melbourne  House,  in  Whitehall.  In 
the  Office  of  Woods,  under  date  of  November  1792,  is  the  following 
entry,  which  refers  to  the  transaction  : — 

"  By  an  assignment  of  this  date,  after  mentioning  that  Lord  Mel- 
bourne was  possessed  of  a  freehold  mansion  in  Piccadilly,  lately  called 
Melbourne,  but  then  called  York  House,  of  which  possession  was  given 
H.R.H.  in  December  1791,  in  pursuance  of  an  agreement  for  an  exchange 
of  the  leasehold  house,  lately  called  York  House,  but  then  called  Mel- 
bourne House,  and  the  building  lately  used  as  the  Lottery  House  for 
the  said  freehold  house,  and  that  a  money  payment  to  equalise  the  ex- 
change had  been  made  by  H.R.H. ,  the  premises  comprised  in  the  leases 
above  were  assigned  to  Peniston,  Viscount  Melbourne,  for  the  remainder 
of  the  term  for  which  they  were  held."  ^ 

The  Duke  of  York,  who  thus  became  possessed  of  the  mansion,  and 
after  whom  it  was  called  York  House,  was  the  second  son  of  George  HL 
He  apparently  resided  here,  until  he  took  a  small  house  in  Audley  Square, 
South  Audley  Street,  during  the  progress  of  the  building  of  Stafford 
House,  which  he  was  renting  at  the  time  of  his  death,  in  1827.  It 
was  on  the  advice,  it  is  said,  of  his  friend  the  Duchess  of  Rutland,  in 
whose  house  in  Arlington  Street,  by-the-bye,  he  actually  died,  that  he 
determined  to  erect  the  immense  pile  now  known  as  Stafford  House, 
which  he  never  lived  to  inhabit.  When  he  vacated  what  was  then  York 
House,  Piccadilly,  the  mansion  was  converted  into  sets  of  chambers,"  and 
the  name  "  Albany  "  given  it  from  the  Duke's  second  title.  The  gardens 
were  built  over  to  afford  further  accommodation,  and  that  curious 
covered  way,  giving  access  to  them  from  Vigo  Street,  formed. 

•  Quoted  in  The  Old  Palace  of  Whitehall,  by  the  Rev.  Canon  Sheppard. 

-  In  the  Grace  collection  is  a  plan  for  dividing  "Albany,"  and  building  additional  blocks 
at  the  back.  On  this  plan  the  house  is  stated  to  have  been  "lately  occupied  by  H.R.H.  the 
Duke  of  York." 


128    THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

In  Horwood's  Plan,  dated  1809,  the  house  is  called  York  House,  and 
the  buildings  behind,  "  The  Albany  "  ;  by  which  it  would  seem  that  the 
name  was  not  at  once  applied  to  the  whole  place  ;  in  which  case  the 
Duke  must  have  given  it  up  long  before  he  commenced  Stafford  House. 

I  need  not  enter  particularly  into  the  history  of  the  house  since  it 
thus  passed  from  its  career  as  a  private  palace  ;  but  I  may  remind  the 
reader  that  among  the  notable  men  who  have  resided  in  these  chambers 
were  Byron  and  Macaulay  ;  George  Canning  and  Lord  Glenelg ;  Sir 
Robert  Smirke  and  Sir  William  Cell ;  "  Monk  Lewis  "  and  the  much- 
travelled  Lord  Valentia  ;   Lord  Lytton  and  Henry  Luttrell. 

The  place  is  to-day  as  monastic  as  it  was  when  Lord  Macaulay  wrote 
here  his  great  history,  or  when  Lord  Lytton  wooed  a  very  substantial 
"  solitude  "  in  one  of  its  chambers. 

HERTFORD    HOUSE 

Hertford,  or  as  it  was  originally  called,  Manchester  House,  is  to-day 
known  of  all  London  ;  it  has  become  almost  as  much  as  the  National 
Gallery,  the  Mecca  of  art-lovers.  When  we  think  of  it,  we  conjure  up 
in  our  minds  a  fairy  palace  filled  not  only  with  the  wonders  of  French 
decorative  work,  but  with  a  collection  of  armour,  unrivalled  in  this 
country,  and  an  assemblage  of  pictures  to  equal  which  we  must  go  to 
Stafford  House  or  Bridgewater  House,  and  which  in  importance  sur- 
passes that  in  the  royal  palace  itself.  By  a  splendid  benefaction,  that 
marvellous  aggregation  of  beautiful  objects  is  now  the  property  of  the 
country,  and  may  be  seen  by  all  and  sundry  ;  but  it  is  probable  that 
those  who  gaze  and  wonder  at  the  masterpieces  in  a  dozen  arts  assembled 
within  these  walls,  give  little  thought  to  the  history  of  the  great  mansion 
in  which  they  find  such  a  fitting  home.  I  want  here  to  say  a  few  words 
about  the  house  itself  and  its  past  owners  ;  but  it  is,  here,  outside  my 
province  to  deal  with  it  as  the  superb  museum  it  has  become. 

The  site  of  Hertford  House  and  Manchester  Square  was  in  the  days 
of  Charles  H.  known  as  "  Maribone  Gardens  " ;  in  the  reign  of  Queen 
Anne,  however,  a  project  was  mooted  for  forming  a  "  quadrate  "  on  this 
spot;  but  nothing  was  done  till  the  year  1770,  when  the  subject  was 
reopened  and  plans  passed  in  pursuance  of  such  a  scheme.  One  of  the 
first  to  obtain  a  ground  lease,^  was  George  Montagu,  fourth  Duke  of 
Manchester,  who  took  practically  the  whole  of  the  ground  on  the  north 
side  of  what  is  now  Manchester  Square,  while  certain  builders,  such  as 
the  Adam  brothers,  Dalrymple,  and  others  took  leases  of  various  portions. 

'  The  property  is  on  the  Portman  estate. 


HERTFORD  HOUSE  129 

In  1776  the  Duke  commenced  the  erection  of  his  fine  mansion  ;  and 
when  the  Square  was  sufficiently  advanced  to  receive  a  name,  that  name 
was  taken  from  the  title  of  the  nobleman  whose  residence  was  such  a 
dominating  note  in  its  development. 

The  death  of  the  Duke  synchronised  with  the  completion  of  the 
Square,  in  1788,  and  Manchester  House  was  thereupon  purchased  by  the 
Spanish  Government  for  the  purpose  of  an  Embassy  in  London,  and  in 
the  Court  Guide  for  1795,  the  name  of  the  Marquis  del  Campo  is  given 
as  the  then  resident  Ambassador.  In  order  that  there  should  be  a 
Roman  Catholic  place  of  worship  conveniently  situated  for  the  use  of 
the  Ambassador  and  his  entourage,  a  piece  of  ground  was  acquired  in 
what  is  now  Spanish  Place,  at  the  north-east  corner  of  the  Square,  and 
Bonomi  was  employed  to  design  the  chapel  which  was  erected  there. 

In  what  year  the  Spanish  Government  vacated  the  house  is  not  quite 
clear,  but  as  Lord  Palmerston,  then  looking  out  for  a  residence  in  London, 
speaks  of  it  in  a  letter  of  1808,  as  then  being  available,  it  was  obviously 
before  that  date  that  the  Embassy  was  removed.  Lord  Palmerston  did 
not  take  the  place,  for,  although  he  considered  it  "  a  nice  house,"  he 
also  thought  it  "  sadly  out  of  the  way." 

But  it  did  not  remain  long  untenanted,  for  soon  after,  the  second 
Marquis  of  Hertford  purchased  it.  He,  as  every  one  knows,  was  a  close 
friend  of  the  Prince  of  Wales,  afterwards  George  IV.,  and  here  the  First 
Gentleman  of  Europe,  as  he  has  been  facetiously  termed,  was  a  constant 
visitor ;  but  these  calls  were  not  always  paid  to  the  master  of  the  house  ; 
it  was  the  Marchioness  who  so  constantly  caused  "  the  old  yellow 
chariot,"  in  which  the  Prince  paid  his  incognito  visits,  to  rumble  over 
the  stones  between  Carlton  House  and  Manchester  Square.  "  The 
Prince,"  says  Romilly,  "  does  not  pass  a  day  without  visiting  Lady  Hert- 
ford "  ;  indeed  so  notorious  did  these  calls  on  "  the  lovely  Marchesa," 
as  Moore  terms  her,  become,  that  a  scurrilous  print  once  inserted  in 
its  columns  the  following  advertisement  :  "  Lost,  between  Pall  Mall 
and  Manchester  Square,  his  Royal  Highness  the  Prince  Regent."  Some- 
times these  visits  were  not  of  quite  so  intime  a  nature,  and  congenial 
spirits  were  invited  to  meet  and  amuse  the  Prince  ;  never,  perhaps,  was 
one  of  these  occasions  so  successful  as  that  at  which  Theodore  Hook  was 
present,  when  he  so  delighted  the  Heir-apparent  with  his  wit  and 
remarkable  feats  of  improvisation,  that  at  the  end  of  the  evening,  the 
Prince  put  his  hand  famiharly  on  his  shoulder  and  exclaimed,  "  Mr. 
Hook,  I  must  see  and  hear  you  again." 

On  the  death  of  the  second  Marquis,  in  1822,  Hertford  House,  as  it 
was  now  called,  passed  to  his   successor,  the  third  Marquis,  whose  wife 


I30    THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

was  that  Maria  Fagniani,  about  whose  paternity  George  Selwyn  and 
"  Old  Q."  were  always  disagreeing. 

This  was  the  peer  who  has  become  immortal  as  the  "  Lord  Steyne  " 
of  Vanity  Fair ;  but  although  in  his  vices  he  may  have  to  some  extent 
resembled  that  redoubtable  old  rake,  he  had  a  saving  grace,  in  his  love 
and  knowledge  of  art.  As  we  know,  he  lived  much  abroad,  and  in  his 
wanderings  he  made  magnificent  additions  to  the  nucleus  of  a  collection 
already  gathered  together  in  Hertford  House.  The  moment  for  the 
acquisition  of  such  treasures,  especially  in  Paris,  where  relics  of  a  departed 
regime  were  often  to  be  picked  up  for  a  mere  song,  was  most  propitious, 
and  Hertford  House  gradually  became  crowded  with  rare  and  beautiful 
objects  of  all  sorts.  In  1842,  the  third  Marquis  died,  not  here  but  at 
old  Dorchester  House  in  Park  Lane,  and  his  son  the  fourth  Marquis 
threw  himself  with  still  greater  ardour  into  the  work  of  collecting  pictures 
and  furniture  and  bric-d-brac.  His  agents  scoured  Europe  ;  no  amount 
of  trouble  was  spared,  no  sum  of  money  was  regarded,  if  some  fine  canvas, 
or  rare  piece  of  porcelain  or  furniture,  was  to  be  had.  Opposition  seemed 
hopeless  against  a  man  whose  determination  to  secure  a  treasure  was 
only  equalled  by  the  wealth  that  enabled  him  to  do  it.  For  nearly 
thirty  years  he  dominated  the  sale-rooms  of  every  capital  of  Europe,  and 
in  these  his  reputation  was  so  firmly  established  that  adversaries  ceased 
to  contend  in  hopeless  struggles,  and  in  consequence  there  is  no  doubt 
that  he  secured  bargains  which  he  might  never  otherwise  have  done. 
He  was  the  Napoleon  of  collectors,  but  unlike  Napoleon,  directly  the 
victory  was  won,  he  apparently  ceased  to  care  for  the  spoils,  and  his 
houses  in  London — Hertford  House,  Manchester  Square ;  Hertford 
House  (now  the  Isthmian  Club),  Piccadilly;  and  St.  Dunstan's  Lodge, 
Regent's  Park,  where  he  hung  that  wonderful  clock  from  St.  Dunstan's 
Church  which  he  had  cried  for  as  a  child  and  secured  as  a  man — were 
crowded  with  his  innumerable  purchases  ;  while  he  in  his  beloved  retire- 
ment in  Paris  at  his  apartments  near  the  Rue  Lafitte,  or  in  his  splendid 
toy-house.  Bagatelle,  in  the  Bois  de  Boulogne,  issued  his  mandates  to 
breathless  agents,  or  received  the  innumerable  dealers  who  brought  him 
only  of  their  best.  His  life  was  like  a  realisation  of  one  of  Balzac's 
extravagant  dreams  ;  had  the  great  writer  possessed  the  means  he  might 
have  been  just  such  a  collector ;  as  it  was,  the  author  of  Le  Cousin  Pons, 
scribbled  on  his  bare  walls  the  names  of  the  masterpieces  he  never 
obtained,  while  Lord  Hertford  at  Bagatelle  hung  up  Reynolds's  "  Mrs. 
Robinson  "  by  his  bedstead,  and  dressed  by  the  light  of  Greuze's  "  Sophie 
Arnould." 

Lord  Hertford   died  unmarried,  in   1870,  and  left  all  his  personal 


HERTFORD   HOUSE  131 

wealth  and  unentailed  property  to  his  devoted  friend  and  lieutenant, 
Mr.  (afterwards  Sir  Richard)  Wallace.  One  of  the  first  things  the  legatee 
did  was  to  save  that  portion  of  the  marvellous  collection  which  was 
stored  in  Paris,  from  the  hands  of  the  vandals  of  the  Commune,  by  sending 
it  off  to  England,  although  he  himself,  with  a  splendid  heroism,  remained 
in  Paris  and  there  earned  by  self-sacrifice  and  generosity,  that  name  for 
philanthropy  by  which,  as  "  Monsieur  Richard,"  he  was  affectionately 
known. 

For  a  time  the  Wallace  Collection,  as  the  accumulations  of  the  two 
Marquises  and  Sir  Richard  himself,  who  was  chiefly  responsible  for  the 
armour,  were  now  called,  was  exhibited  in  the  Bethnal  Green  Museum, 
but  by  1875,  vast  alterations  and  additions  had  been  made  to  Hertford 
House  with  a  view  to  accommodating  the  whole  en  masse. 

Some  years  before  his  death,  Sir  Richard  had  made  overtures  to  the 
Government  with  a  view  to  leaving  the  whole  of  his  artistic  possessions 
to  the  country  ;  the  offer  was  met  in  the  characteristic  fashion  of  English 
Governments  (Mr.  Standish  and  Sir  Henry  Tate  were  treated  in  a  very 
similar  manner),  when  such  magnificent  offers  have  been  made  to  them, 
and  trivial  and  vexatious  conditions  were  attached  to  acceptance,  as  if  it 
was  an  act  of  condescension  and  kindness  to  accept  what  no  Government 
could  have  procured  for  itself.  A  less  public-spirited  man  than  Sir  Richard 
would  have  left  the  collection  to  a  nation  which  could  better  have 
appreciated  such  a  gift,  as  Mr.  Standish  did,  and  as  it  is  a  wonder  Sir 
Henry  Tate  did  not  ;  but  in  spite  of  all  the  haggling  of  Treasury 
officials,  better  counsels  prevailed,  and  on  Lady  Wallace's  death  it  was 
found  that  Sir  Richard  had  empowered  her  to  bequeath  the  Wallace 
Collection  to  the  country. 

I  need  not  insist  on  its  value  ;  none  could  probably  say  what  that 
is  ;  we  talk  of  millions,  but  no  number  of  millions  could  buy  the  con- 
tents of  Hertford  House  ;  it  cannot  be  compared,  because  certainly  in 
this  country  there  is  nothing  comparable  to  it.  But  its  importance  can 
be  guessed  at,  for  it  exactly  fills  that  lacuna  in  our  national  possessions 
which  was  always  hitherto  a  matter  of  regret.  The  examples  of  French 
art  in  the  National  Gallery  are  insignificant  in  number,  and  often  poor 
in  quality  ;  our  public  collection  of  French  furniture  and  bric-a-brac  was 
practically  confined  to  the  splendid  but,  in  comparison  with  that  at 
Hertford  House,  small,  Jones  collection  ;  we  had  no  representative  assem- 
blage of  armour  except  that  in  the  Tower  ;  and  the  finest  Sevres  china 
is  in  royal  palaces  or  private  houses  ;  in  Hertford  House,  we  have  all 
these  gaps  not  only  filled,  but  filled  in  such  a  way  as  to  be  the  envy  and 
despair  of  other  countries. 


132     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 


NEWCASTLE    HOUSE 

Before  Henry  Jermyn  commenced  the  development  of  his  property 
between  Piccadilly  and  Pall  Mall  of  which  St.  James's  Square  formed 
the  key-stone,  and  thus  inaugurated  the  establishment  of  the  West  End  as 
a  fashionable  dwelling-place,  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields  was  one  of  the  favourite 
residential  spots  in  London  ;  and  even  for  many  years  after  much  of 
the  fashion  of  the  day  had  emigrated  towards  the  west,  there  were  many 
noble  families  to  be  found  within  it  ;  while  it  is  not  improbable  that  had 
Inigo  Jones's  great  plan  of  rebuilding  the  whole  square  been  carried  into 
effect,  the  exodus  from  this  quarter  might  have  been  still  longer  retarded. 
As  it  is,  such  important  people  as  the  Earls  of  Bristol,  Sandwich,  and 
Lindsay  ;  the  Dowager-Countess  of  Middlesex,  and  the  "  proud  "  Duke 
of  Somerset,  and  Sir  Richard  and  Lady  Fanshawe,  are  numbered  among 
its  past  inhabitants  ;  and  for  a  time  it  was  the  recognised  home  of 
many  of  the  Lord  Chancellors,  among  whom  Lord  Cowper,  and  Simon, 
Lord  Harcourt,  Lords  Northington  and  Macclesfield,  may  be  named  ; 
while  such  men  as  Lords  Ashburton,  Grantley,  and  Kenyon,  and  Sir 
William  Blackstone,  anticipated  by  their  residence  here  the  legal  aspect 
which  has  since  almost  entirely  overtaken  "  the  Fields."  Many  of  the 
fine  old  houses  that  were  once  the  private  residences  of  noble  owners 
still  survive,  in  some  cases  mutilated  as  to  their  exteriors,  and  in  practi- 
cally all,  divided  and  subdivided  within  beyond  all  knowledge. 

Of  these  the  largest  and,  in  many  respects  the  most  important,  is  the 
great  house  at  the  north-west  corner,  now  numbered  66,  Lincoln's  Inn 
Fields,  but  in  the  days  of  its  earlier  prosperity  known  first  as  Powis, 
and  afterwards  as  Newcastle  house. 

It  was  erected  in  1686,  by  William  Herbert,  created  Earl  of  Powis 
in  1674,  who  was  raised  to  the  marquisite  the  year  after  the  house  was 
built.  The  architect  employed  was  that  Captain  William  Winde,  a  pupil 
of  Balthazar  Gerbier,  who  addressed  one  of  the  numerous  dedications  of 
his  Counsel  and  Advice  to  all  Builders,^  to  his  scholar.  The  Herbert 
family  possessed  an  earlier  house  on  the  same  site,  which  was  burnt  to 
the  ground  in  1684,  the  inmates  barely  escaping  with  their  lives  ;  and  the 
private  Act  of  Parliament  for  the  erection  of  the  new  house  is  entitled 
"  An  Act  for  rebuilding  the  Earl  of  Powis's  House  in  Lincoln's  Inn 
Fields,  lately  demolished  by  fire."  Luttrell  thus  refers  to  the  destruction 
of  the  mansion,  on  November  26th  :  "  About  five  in  the  morning  broke 
out  a  fire  in  the  house  of  the  Earl  of  Powis  in  Great  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields, 

'  Published  in  London  in  1663. 


NEWCASTLE    HOUSE  133 

which  in  a  very  Uttle  time  consumed  that  house,  the  family  hardly  saving 
themselves  from  being  burnt,  but  lost  all  their  things." 

Lord  Powis  enjoyed  his  new  possession  but  a  short  time,  for  on  the 
accession  of  William  III.  it  was  forfeited  to  the  Crown,  its  master  having 
been  one  of  the  few  faithful  adherents  of  James  II.,  and  one  of  those 
who  followed  him  into  exile.' 

On  his  departure  from  England,  Lord  Powis  left  his  mansion  exposed 
to  the  attacks  of  the  anti-popery  mobs  which  scoured  the  streets 
seeking  what  Roman  Catholic  property  they  might  destroy.  On  the 
llth  December  1688,  they  gutted  the  popish  chapel  in  Lincoln's  Inn 
Fields,  "  pulling  down  all  the  wainscot,  pictures,  books,  &c.,"  says 
Luttrell ;  and  on  the  following  night,  the  same  authority  tells  us,  "  they 
would  have  plundered  and  demolished  the  houses  of  several  papists,  as 
Lord  Powys,  &c.,  if  they  had  not  been  prevented  by  the  train'd  bands 
which  were  out,"  although  in  the  English  Courant  for  the  same  month,  a 
somewhat  different  reason  is  given  to  account  for  the  preservation  of 
the  mansion,  thus  :  "  Then  they  (the  mob)  went  to  the  Lord  Powis' 
great  house  in  Lincoln's  Inn  Fields,  wherein  was  a  guard,  and  a  bill  upon 
the  door — '  This  house  is  appointed  for  the  Lord  Delamere's  quarters,'  and 
some  of  the  company  crying,  '  Let  it  alone,  the  Lord  Powis  was  against 
the  Bishops  going  to  the  Tower,'  they  offered  no  violence  to  it."  ^ 

Having  passed  by  forfeiture  to  the  Crown,  Powis  House  was  appointed 
as  a  residence  for  the  Lord  Chancellor  during  his  term  of  office,  and  in 
this  capacity.  Lord  Somers  occupied  it  in  February  1697,  and  remained 
here  tiH  September  1700.  In  the  previous  May  he  "  offered  Powis  House 
to  the  Lord  Keeper,  who  accepted  thereof,  and  designs  to  live  there  and 
hear  cases,"  ^  and  on  September  30th  he  sent  the  key  of  the  mansion  to 
the  Lord  Keeper,  who  moved  into  it  on  the  following  3rd  of  October. 

The  Lord  Keeper  here  mentioned  was  Sir  Nathan  Wright,  and 
Pennant  states  that  there  was  a  report  that  the  Government  contem- 
plated purchasing  Powis  House  and  settling  it  as  an  official  residence  on 
the  Keeper  of  the  Great  Seal  for  the  time  being  ;  this  scheme  was  not, 
however,  carried  out,  and  John  Holies,  first  Duke  of  Newcastle  of  the 
Holies  branch,  became  its  owner  in  May  1705,  giving  to  the  second 
Lord  Powis,  who  had  succeeded  his  father,  ;£7000  for  the  place.  At 
this  time  Sir  Nathan  Wright  was  still  in  possession,  but  arrangements 
had  evidently  been  made  for  his  giving  it  up,  as  we  know  that  the  Duke 
bought  it  for  his  own  use,  and  Luttrell  further  informs  us  that  he 
"  designs  to  keep  the  office  of  the  privy  seal,"  ^  here  as  well. 

'  He  died  at  St.  Gennains,  in  1696.  ^  Quoted  in  London  Past  and  Present. 

'  Narcissus  Luttrell's  Diary.  '  Diary.,  May  8,  1705. 


134     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

The  Duke's  possession  of  the  house,  which  was  now  known  as  New- 
castle House,  was  a  comparatively  short  one,  for  he  died  in  171 1,  and  as 
he  left  no  direct  heir,  the  title,  and  estates  including  Newcastle  House, 
passed  to  his  nephew,  Thomas  Pelham-HoUes,  son  of  Thomas,  first  Lord 
Pelham,  who  married  six  years  after  his  accession  to  the  title,  Lady 
Henrietta,  daughter  of  Francis,  second  Earl  of  Godolphin. 

This  Duke,  besides  holding  a  number  of  important  offices  under 
George  I.,  was  First  Lord  of  the  Treasury  as  well  as  Lord  Privy  Seal, 
under  his  successor,  and  is  a  well-known  figure  in  the  political  annals  of 
these  two  reigns,  and  at  Newcastle  House,  which  about  this  time  De 
Saussure  speaks  of  as  particularly  magnificent,  he  was  wont  to  receive  the 
crowds  of  friends  and  dependants  who  paid  their  court  to  him.  "  His 
levees  were  his  pleasure  and  his  triumph,"  writes  an  authority,  "  he  loved 
to  have  them  crowded,  and  consequently  they  were  so.  There  he  gener- 
ally made  people  of  business  wait  two  or  three  hours  in  the  ante-chamber, 
while  he  trifled  away  that  time  with  some  insignificant  favourite  in  his 
closet.  When  at  last  he  came  into  his  levee-room,  he  accosted,  hugged, 
embraced,  and  promised  everybody,  with  a  seeming  cordiality,  but  at  the 
same  time  with  an  illiberal  and  degrading  familiarity." 

The  character  of  this  extraordinary  man  has  been  often  drawn. 
Walpole  and  Smollett  and  Macaulay  have  all  handed  down  portraits 
which  essentially  resemble  one  another,  of  this  eccentric,  exceedingly 
ignorant,  but  at  the  same  time,  in  some  things,  curiously  astute  and 
successful  nobleman.  "  All  that  the  art  of  the  satirist  does  for  other 
men,  nature  had  done  for  him.  .  .  .  He  was  a  living,  moving,  talking 
caricature.  His  gait  was  a  shuffling  trot  ;  his  utterance  a  rapid  stutter  ; 
he  was  always  in  a  hurry  ;  he  was  never  in  time  ;  he  abounded  in  fulsome 
caresses  and  in  hysterical  tears.  .  .  .  He  was  eaten  up  by  ambition.  .  .  . 
He  was  greedy  after  power  with  a  greediness  all  his  own.  .  .  .  All  the  able 
men  of  his  time  ridiculed  him  as  a  dunce,  a  driveller,  a  child  who  never 
knew  his  own  mind  for  an  hour  together  ;  and  he  overreached  them  all 
round."  This  is  a  sort  of  patchwork  of  Macaulay's  estimate,  and  if  we 
distrust  Macaulay's  partiality  on  occasion,  we  must  remember  that  in  this 
instance  his  verdict  is  confirmed  by  the  judgments  of  contemporaries. 

In  1 71 8,  the  year  in  which  the  Duke  was  made  a  Knight  of  the 
Garter,  a  large  crowd  made  a  bonfire  before  Newcastle  House,  and  flung 
burning  faggots  at  the  windows,  "  whereupon,"  we  are  told,  "  several 
gentlemen  and  the  Duke's  servants  came  out  with  drawn  swords,  and 
wounded  several  of  the  mob." 

Another  nuisance  to  his  Grace  and  his  household  were  the  perpetual 
visits  of  the  "  long  Sir  Thomas  Robinson,"  on  whom  Lord  Chester- 


NEWCASTLE   HOUSE  135 

field  made  a  well-known  epigram,  and  who  was  continually  calling  at 
Newcastle  House,  with  the  hope  of  seeing  its  master.  When  this  was 
denied  him,  he  always  desired  to  be  allowed  to  go  into  the  Hall  and  look 
at  the  clock,  or  play  with  the  pet  monkey  that  was  kept  there  ;  hoping 
by  such  methods  to  intercept  the  Duke.  At  length  the  servants,  grown 
tired  of  his  importunities,  resolved  to  put  an  end  to  his  visits,  so  when 
next  time  Sir  Thomas  appeared  and  asked  for  the  Duke,  he  received  the 
following  pregnant  reply  :  "  Sir,  his  Grace  has  gone  out,  the  clock  has 
stopped,  and  the  monkey  is  dead." 

This  story  is  to  be  found  in  that  storehouse  of  amusing  tales, 
The  Century  of  Anecdote,  by  Timbs,  who  took  it  from  Hawkins's  Life  of 
Johnson  ;  in  the  same  book  Timbs  tells  how  it  was  at  Newcastle  House 
that  the  old  custom  of  giving  vails  (we  now  call  them  tips)  to  servants 
received  its  death-blow.  It  was  then  customary  for  the  servants  to  wait 
in  the  Hall  and  to  receive  gratuities  from  departing  guests.  On  one 
such  occasion.  Sir  Timothy  Waldo,  on  his  way  from  the  ducal  table, 
gave  the  cook  five  shillings,  who  immediately  returned  it,  saying,  "  Sir, 
I  do  not  take  silver."  "  Don't  you,  indeed  ?  "  replied  Sir  Timothy, 
pocketing  the  crown  ;   "  and  I  don't  give  gold." 

The  Duke  of  Newcastle  died  in  1768,  when  the  title  passed  to  Henry 
Pelham-Clinton,  who  succeeded  as  second  Duke,  but  there  is  no  evidence 
that  he  occupied  Newcastle  House,  which  by  this  time  had  become  some- 
what demode.  During  the  early  years  of  the  nineteenth  century  it  was 
certainly  unoccupied  ;   and  its  career  as  a  private  palace  was  for  ever  over. 

In  1827,  the  Society  for  Promoting  Christian  Knowledge  bought  the 
freehold,  and  was  established  here  for  just  fifty  years,  when  it  removed 
to  its  new  premises  in  Northumberland  Avenue.  About  1879,  Newcastle 
House  was  divided,  one  half  being  occupied  by  Messrs.  Farrer,  and  the 
other  by  Messrs.  Ingram,  Harrison  &  Co.  ;  more  recently,  on  the 
lamentable  failure  of  the  latter  firm,  the  north  portion  of  the  house  was 
left  unoccupied  ;  but  a  year  or  so  ago,  Messrs.  Farrer  acquired  it,  and 
once  again,  under  their  cegis.,  the  old  house,  although  necessarily  much 
divided  inside,  has  regained  its  former  outward  appearance  of  a  single 
mansion. 

As  may  be  seen  in  old  prints  of  the  residence,  the  covered  archway 
in  Great  Queen  Street,  was  formerly  within  the  courtyard  of  the  house, 
which  enabled  the  latter  to  be  reached  from  the  offices  at  the  back  of 
the  building,  without  the  necessity  of  passing  through  the  Hall.  The 
stables  belonging  to  Newcastle  House  were  on  the  opposite  side  of  Great 
Queen  Street  ;  and  there  was  once  a  gateway  into  that  thoroughfare 
from  the  mansion  itself. 


CHAPTER  V 

WHITEHALL    HOUSES 

CONSIDERING  its  extent,  Whitehall  is  to-day  not  very 
largely  associated  with  private  residences  ;  true,  Montagu 
House  stands  there,  but  it  is  the  last  of  the  great  palaces 
of  London  to  do  so,  and  now  that  Northumberland  House 
is  no  more,  is  the  most  easterly  of  any  of  them,  although,  curiously 
enough,  in  date  of  building  it  is  one  of  the  most  modern ;  the  fine 
houses  in  Richmond  Terrace  still  remain,  but  their  number  may  be 
counted  on  one  hand,  while  those  comprising  Whitehall  Gardens  are 
nearly  all  occupied  by  Government  offices,  and  those  in  Whitehall  Place 
are  consecrated  to  professional  uses.  Indeed  the  dominant  note  in  this 
famous  thoroughfare  is  that  of  officialdom  ;  stately  buildings  are  to  be 
seen  on  all  sides  ;  the  Admiralty  and  the  Home  Office  ;  the  immense 
War  Office  and  the  hardly  less  extensive  Local  Government  Board 
buildings ;  but  of  the  private  palaces  that  once  congregated  together 
at  this  spot,  only  one,  Gwydyr  House,  remains,  and  that  has  been 
converted  to  alien  uses. 

This  exodus  of  private  owners  seems  at  first  rather  curious,  but  the 
reason  for  it  is  easily  explained.  Nearly  all  the  great  houses  that  formerly 
stood  here  had  their  origin  in  the  Palace  which  extended  from  the 
present  Horse  Guards  Avenue  on  the  north  to  Richmond  Terrace  on  the 
south,  and  embraced  the  area  from  the  river  bank  to  where  the  Treasury 
Buildings  now  stand  on  the  west.^  All  this  ground  was,  of  course.  Crown 
property,  and  after  the  great  fire  at  the  Palace  and  the  subsequent  deser- 
tion of  it  for  St.  James's  and  Buckingham  House,  leases  were  granted 
to  several  people  who  erected  fine  houses  on  the  various  sites  allotted 
them  ;  in  the  course  of  time  these  leases  fell  in,  and  the  tendency  to 
reside  in  other  quarters  such  as  Mayfair  particularly,  coupled  perhaps 
with  the  heavy  terms  required  for  the  renewal  of  leases,   where  any  dis- 

'  A  comparison  of  the  plan  of  Whitehall,  dated  1680,  with  a  modern  ordnance  survey  map, 
will  show  the  extent  of  the  old  palace  buildings,  and  the  relative  position  of  some  of  the 
houses  referred  to  in  this  chapter;  while  a  later  coloured  drawing,  dated  1816,  in  the  Grace 
collection,  shows  the  position  of  those  that  survived  at  that  time.  I  have  endeavoured  to 
indicate  in  the  text  these  various  positions,  as  lucidly  as  I  could. 

136 


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RICHMOND   HOUSE  137 

position  was  shown  to  renew  at  all,  caused  many  tenants  to  give  up  their 
residences  here  ;  some  of  which  houses  were  eventually  demolished  to 
make  way  for  the  great  ofhcial  buildings  since  erected,  while  others 
were  converted  into  Government  offices  and  gradually  came,  by  altera- 
tion and  rebuilding,  to  lose  all  semblance  of  the  private  character  which 
once  was  theirs. 

As  I  deal  with  these  fine  houses  in  turn  we  shall  see  how  in  each 
individual  instance  this  was  the  case,  and  when  we  note  how  splendid 
some  of  them  were,  we  shall  have  much  food  for  reflection  as  to  the 
future  of  spme  equally  fine  houses  in  our  own  day,  which  seem  built  on 
the  rocks  of  substantiality,  but  may  have  no  more  lasting  career  than 
the  great  mansions  of  Whitehall  which  have  for  ever  passed  away. 


RICHMOND   HOUSE 

The  first  of  these  private  houses  which  it  will  be  convenient  to 
mention  was  Richmond  House,  which  occupied  a  position  at  the  river 
end  of  what  is  now  Richmond  Terrace,  thus  named  in  consequence.  In 
the  1680  plan  it  is  styled  "  the  Duke  of  Richmond's,"  it  having  been  at 
one  time  in  the  possession  of  the  Duchess  of  Portsmouth,  whose  son  by 
Charles  II.  was  created  Duke  of  Richmond  in  1675.  When  the  great 
fire  at  the  Palace  occurred  in  1 691,  it  is  said  by  Evelyn  to  have  begun 
"at  the  apartments  of  the  late  Duchess  of  Portsmouth,  which  had  been 
pulled  down  and  rebuilt  no  less  than  three  times  to  please  her,"  while 
Bramston  notes  that  these  "  lodgings  "  were  "  at  the  end  of  the  Long 
Gallery  "  ;  from  this  it  is  difficult  to  say  whether  Richmond  House  is 
indicated  or  whether  the  "  lodgings  "  refer  to  other  apartments  in  the 
Palace  belonging  to  the  Duchess.  I  think  it  is  probable  that  the  house 
itself  is  not  meant,  because,  in  1709,  we  find  the  first  Duke  petitioning 
for  a  grant  to  be  allowed  to  "  repair  and  build  a  house,"  but  that  if  this 
could  not  be  granted,  he  states  his  willingness  to  be  content  "  with  that 
house  that  was  the  Duchess  of  Richmond's."  By  this  last  expression  is 
proved  that  Richmond  House  must  have  at  one  time  been  occupied  by 
the  widow  of  the  third  Duke  of  Richmond  (of  the  Stuart  line),  who 
died  in  1702,  as  in  1709,  there  was  no  other  Duchess  of  Richmond 
recently  dead. 

Two  years  later,  the  lease  having  been  granted,  the  Duke  erected 
the  new  mansion,  probably  more  or  less  on  the  site  of  the  old  house. 
Some  twenty  years  later,  we  find  the  second  Duke  of  Richmond  applying 
for  a  renewal  of  the  lease  together  with  a  grant  of  a  new  one  of  some 


138     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

vacant  ground  which  lay  between  his  house  and  the  river,  and  is  now, 
of  course,  covered  by  the  Embankment,  with  the  result  that  he  obtained 
a  further  term  of  thirty  years  expiring  in  1763.  Not  content  with  this, 
however,  six  years  later  he  applied  for  a  lease  of  houses  then  occupied 
by  Lord  Middleton  and  Sir  PhiUp  Meadows,  which  were  reported  to 
be  "  old  and  ruinous,"  whereupon  a  fresh  lease  was  granted  of  these 
premises,  apparently  cancelling  the  former  ones  of  1709  and  1732,  of  the 
whole  property  for  fifty  years. 

It  would  appear  that  the  second  Duke  rebuilt  the  house  from  the 
designs  of  Lord  Burlington.  Walpole  in  recording  this  fact  states  that 
the  mansion  was  ill  contrived  and  inconvenient  ;  it  not  improbably 
partook  of  the  same  qualities  as  the  noble  architect's  erection  for  Marshal 
Wade  in  Burlington  Gardens,  in  sacrificing  internal  comfort  to  an  effec- 
tive exterior. 

It  was  under  the  second  Duke  that  those  entertainments  so  long 
associated  with  Richmond  House,  were  first  inaugurated.  Walpole, 
writing  to  Mann  on  May  17,  1749,  thus  describes  one  of  them  :  "We 
have  not  yet  done  diverting  ourselves  :  the  night  before  last  the  Duke 
of  Richmond  gave  a  firework  ;  a  codical  to  the  peace.  He  bought  the 
rockets  and  wheels  that  remained  in  the  Pavilion  which  miscarried,  and 
took  the  pretence  of  the  Duke  of  Modena  being  here  to  give  a  charming 
entertainment.  The  garden  lies  with  a  slope  down  to  the  Thames,  on 
which  were  lighters,  from  whence  were  thrown  up,  after  a  concert  of 
water-music,  a  great  number  of  rockets.  Then  from  boats  on  every  side 
were  discharged  water-rockets  and  fires  of  that  kind  ;  and  then  the  wheels 
which  were  ranged  along  the  rails  of  the  terrace  were  played  off  ;  and 
the  whole  concluded  with  the  illumination  of  a  pavilion  on  the  top  of 
the  slope  of  two  pyramids  on  each  side,  and  of  the  whole  length  of  the 
balustrade  to  the  water.  You  can't  conceive  a  prettier  sight  ;  the  gardens 
filled  with  everybody  of  fashion,  the  Duke,  the  Duke  of  Modena,  and 
the  two  black  Princes.  The  King  and  Princess  Emily  were  in  their 
barge  under  the  terrace,  the  river  was  covered  with  boats,  and  the 
shores  and  adjacent  houses  with  crowds.  The  Duke  of  Modena  played 
afterwards  at  brag,  and  there  was  a  fine  supper  for  him  and  the  foreigners, 
of  whom  there  are  numbers  here."  ^ 

The  second  Duke  of  Richmond  died  in  1750,  whereupon  his  widow, 
daughter  and  heiress  of  William,  Earl  Cadogan,  applied  for  a  fresh  lease 

'  Walpole's  Letters  to  Mann,  vol.  ii.  pp.  381-3S2.  There  is  extant  a  curious  engraving 
entitled  "View  of  the  Fireworkes  and  Illuminations  of  the  Duke  of  Richmond's,  at  Whitehall, 
and  on  the  Thames,  of  May  15,  1 749,"  published  in  the  following  year.  Madame  de  Bocage,  in 
her  Letters  on  England,  &^c.,  speaks  of  entertainments  at  Richmond  House,  and  of  the  card 
parties  which  used  to  be  held  in  the  gallery  of  the  mansion. 


RICHMOND   HOUSE  139 

of  the  mansion  and  grounds,  which  being  obtained  two  years  afterwards, 
became,  in  consequence  of  the  death  of  the  Duchess  in  1751,  vested 
in  the  third  Duke,  the  well-known  opponent  of  Chatham,  and  to  whom 
the  great  Pitt  was  replying  in  the  House  of  Lords  when  he  fell  senseless 
to  the  ground.  In  1 781,  as  if  there  were  to  be  no  end  to  these  applica- 
tions, the  Duke  petitioned  for  yet  another  lease,  and  having  obtained  it,  set 
about  largely  altering  and  improving  the  mansion,  and  reclaiming  much 
of  the  then  muddy  foreshore  of  the  river  ;  while  at  the  same  time  the 
area  of  the  property  was  increased  by  a  grant  of  leases  of  two  adjoining 
houses  with  the  ground  attached  to  them  which  had  once  formed  part 
of  the  Privy  garden. 

It  would  appear  that  his  Grace  allowed  these  houses  to  stand,  and 
only  probably  wanted  a  lease  of  them  to  prevent  inconvenient  neighbours, 
for  eight  years  later  one  of  them  was  occupied  by  Lord  George  Lennox, 
and  the  other  by  Colonel  Lennox,  who  in  this  very  year  fought  the 
famous  duel  with  the  Duke  of  York,  about  which  the  diarists  of  the  day 
have  so  much  to  say.^ 

The  last  of  the  many  applications  for  fresh  leases  was  made  by  the 
Duke  in  1791,  when  he  obtained  a  renewal  for  fifty  years. 

The  festivities  which  had  characterised  the  second  Duke's  tenure  of 
Richmond  House  were  kept  up  during  his  successor's  long  life  Seven 
years  after  his  accession  to  the  title  the  latter  married  Lady  Mary  Bruce, 
an  alliance  that  gave  Walpole  much  satisfaction.  "  The  Duke  of  Rich- 
mond," he  writes,  to  Mann  on  March  17,  1757,  "has  made  two  Balls 
on  his  approaching  wedding,"  these  entertainments  taking  place  at  Rich- 
mond House.  Later,  the  Duke  having  purchased  the  adjacent  house, 
fitted  up  a  small  theatre  in  it,  "  where,"  says  Walpole,  "  two  winter's, 
plays  were  performed  by  people  of  quality."  Peter  Pindar  refers  to  these 
theatrical  doings,  in  the  following  quatrain  addressed  to  the  King  : 

"  So  much  with  saving  wisdom  are  you  taken, 
Drury  and  Covent  Garden  seem  forsaken. 
Since  cost  attendeth  those  theatric  borders, 
Content  you  go  to  Richmond  House  with  orders," 

and  in  a  note  to  this  passage  he  says,  "  Here  is  a  pretty  little  nut-shell  of 
a  Theatre  fitted  up  for  the  convenience  of  ladies  and  gentlemen  of  quality 
who  wish  to  expose  themselves." 

This  was  the  period  in  which  private  theatricals  seem  to  have  first 
sprung  into  favour  among  people  of  fashion  ;  Lady  Ossory  had  a  theatre 
fitted  up  at  Ampthill ;    the  Duchess  of  Marlborough  followed  with  a 

'  See,  too,  Timbs's  Romance  of  London,  vol.  i.  p.  231,  for  an  account  of  this  incident. 


I40     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

more  splendid  one  at  Blenheim ;  while  Lord  Barrymore's  excursions  into 
the  Thespian  realms,  and  the  playhouse  he  erected  at  Wargrave,  are 
matters  of  notoriety ;  but  of  all  these,  the  Duke  of  Richmond's  company 
seems  to  have  been  the  best,  as  his  theatre  in  Whitehall  was  the  most 
lavishly  appointed.  The  amateur  "  season  "  began  in  April  and  May, 
and  after  people  had  left  town  was  discontinued,  to  be  resumed  in  the 
winter.  The  first  play  produced  here  was  "  The  Way  to  Keep  Him," 
and  at  first  the  number  of  the  audience  was  limited  to  eighty,'  although 
on  one  occasion  there  were  no  fewer  than  one  hundred  and  twenty-six. 
On  April  i6,  1787,  the  first  performance  took  place,  and  among  the 
brilliant  audience  might  have  been  seen  Sir  Joshua  Reynolds.  The 
dramatis  fersonce  included  Lord  Derby,  Sir  Harry  Englefield,  Major 
Arabin,  and  Mr.  Edgecumbe  ;  while  Mrs.  Damer,  Mrs.  Bruce,  Mrs.  Hobart, 
and  Miss  Campbell  sustained  the  female  parts.  The  King  and  Queen 
were  present  at  the  last  representation,  and  Walpole  tells  us  that  the 
Duke  of  Richmond  officiated  as  Master  of  the  Ceremonies,  and  "  on 
the  conclusion  of  the  play  conducted  his  guests  to  a  most  elegant 
supper  and  dessert,  where  the  glass  and  song  went  round  till  past  four 
in  the  morning  "  ;  no  wonder  the  gossiping  letter-writer  supposes  that 
"  the  Richmond  Theatre  will  take  root."  ^  In  the  winter  a  play  called 
"  The  Wonder  "  was  produced,  when  Lord  Henry  Fitzgerald  acted  so 
remarkably  that  Walpole  calls  him  "  a  prodigy,  a  perfection,"  and  goes 
so  far  as  to  call  Garrick  "  a  monkey  "  compared  to  him,  complacently 
adding  the  dictum  that  "  when  people  of  quality  can  act,  they  must  act 
their  own  parts  much  better  than  others  can  mimic  them,"  a  theory 
not  agreed  to  by  a  writer  in  the  Town  and  Country  Magazine  who  criti- 
cised the  actors  so  unmercifully  that  Walpole  imagined  him  to  be  some 
envious  professional  actor. 

During  his  long  life  the  Duke  of  Richmond  was  notable  for  lavish  enter- 
tainments, but  in  addition  to  these  and  his  well-known  political  activity, 
he  occupied  himself  with  more  lasting  interests,  and  at  Richmond  House, 
he  formed  a  splendid  collection  of  casts  from  the  antique  ;  and  not  only 
this,  but  he  invited  artists  to  go  and  study  in  the  gallery  he  had  formed, 
and  a  regular  school  of  design  was  opened  here  on  March  6,  1758, 
being  the  first  for  this  particular  branch  of  artistic  endeavour  to  be 
inaugurated  in  this  country.  Silver  medals  were,  by  the  Duke's  munifi- 
cence, offered  as  prizes,  and  such  men  as  Wilton  and  Cipriani  were  enrolled 
amongst  the  instructors  who  attended  in  the  gallery  in  which  had  been 

'  See   letters   from    -Storer   to    Eden,   in    the  Auckland  Correspondence^    referring   to   the 
Richmond  House  theatricals. 

^  See  Life  of  Reynolds,  by  LesHe  and  Taylor,  &c. 


RICHMOND   HOUSE  141 

placed  "  every  apparatus  and  conveniency  that  could  be  required  In 
such  a  place  of  study."  ^  Here  were  gathered  together  no  less  than 
twenty-one  statues,  four  or  five  groups,  and  a  number  of  antique  busts  ; 
several  bassi  relievi,  with  casts  from  the  Trajan  column,  and  other  works. 
By  this  noble  munificence  the  third  Duke  of  Richmond  properly  takes 
his  place  among  the  most  considerable  of  English  art-patrons. 

This  gallery,  which  was  not  destroyed  in  the  fire  which  occurred  here 
in  1 791,  formed  the  subject  of  a  sketch  by  an  artist  named  Parry, 
which  Edwards  in  his  Anecdotes  mentions  particularly  as  being  the  only 
representation  of  the  place  in  existence. 

Like  so  many  schemes  of  private  enterprise,  that  of  the  Duke  laid  itself 
open  to  criticism  ;  and  on  one  occasion,  as  he  was  obliged  to  be  absent 
abroad  with  his  regiment,  the  medals  usually  distributed  at  Christmas 
were  not  allotted,  whereupon  the  students  posted  up  on  the  door  of  the 
gallery  the  following  notice  :  "  The  Right  Honourable  the  Duke  of  Rich- 
mond, being  obliged  to  join  his  regiment  abroad,  will  pay  the  premiums 
as  soon  as  he  comes  home  "  ;  and  when  the  Duke  did  return,  he  found 
to  his  annoyance  another  notice  apologising  for  his  poverty  and  expressing 
his  regret  at  having  offered  premiums  at  all.^  This  so  enraged  him,  that 
he  shut  up  the  gallery  and  transferred  its  contents  to  the  Society  of 
Artists  which  had  been  started  in  1765.  Later,  some  of  the  casts  became 
the  property  of  the  Royal  Academy,  and  may  still  probably  be  in  use 
in  the  school  there. 

The  Duke  not  only  did  so  much  for  the  encouragement  of  art,  but 
he  also  sat  to  Reynolds  (in  October  1758),  and  patronised  Romney  by 
inducing  the  great  Burke  to  give  sittings  to  the  rising  man,  somewhat, 
it  is  supposed,  to  Sir  Joshua's  chagrin. 

The  disastrous  fire  at  Richmond  House,  referred  to  above,  almost 
gutted  the  mansion  which  had  been  noted  not  only  for  its  remarkable  col- 
lection of  antique  statues,  but  for  its  other  beautiful  and  costly  contents. 
The  house,  however,  was  rebuilt  from  the  designs  of  Wyatt,  at  which 
time  the  two  separate  residences  referred  to  before  were  incorporated  in 
the  new  erection. 

The  fifth  Duke,  who  was  aide-de-camp  to  Wellington,  in  the  Peninsula, 
did  not  apparently  appreciate  the  place,  for  the  year  after  his  accession 
to  the  title,  viz.  in  1820,  he  sold  his  interest  to  the  Crown,  which  gave 
him  ^4300  for  the  twenty-one  unexpired  years  of  his  lease.  Three  years 
later  the  mansion  and  other  buildings  appertaining  to  it  were  pulled 
down,  and  in  the  following  year  Richmond  Terrace  was  built  on  its  site. 

That    Richmond   House    must   have    been    a    building,    not   only   of 

■  Taylor's  Fi/ii:  Arfs  in  England.  '  Leslie  and  Taylor's  Life  of  Reynolds. 


142     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

importance  but  also  of  architectural  merit,  is  evidenced  by  the  fact  that 
even  the  critical  Ralph  speaks  well  of  it.  It  has,  he  says  "  greatly  the 
advantage  of  its  neighbour  (old  Montagu  House)  ;  there  is  something 
of  manner  as  well  as  of  simplicity  in  this  ;  it  satisfies  the  eye  and  answers 
in  the  prospect  ;  and  yet,"  he  adds,  "  even  here  the  entrance  is  intoler- 
able not  only  because  'tis  bad  in  itself,  but  because  it  hides  all  the  lower 
part  of  the  house."  ^ 


PEMBROKE  HOUSE 

Another  important  mansion  in  Whitehall  was  Pembroke  House,  which 
was  also  at  a  later  date  known  as  Harrington  House,  and  which  is  now 
represented  by  No.  7  Whitehall  Gardens. 

In  1 717,  the  Crown  granted  the  piece  of  waste  land  on  which  it  after- 
wards stood  to  Henry,  Lord  Herbert,  the  eldest  son  of  the  eighth  Earl 
of  Pembroke,  and  the  "  Curio  "  of  Pope's  Moral  Essays,  where  his  taste 
for  "  Statues,  dirty  gods  and  coins,"  is  referred  to.  At  that  time  the 
site  was,  according  to  the  official  report,  "  almost  covered  with  heaps  of 
rubbish,  part  of  the  ruins  of  the  Palace." 

Some  years  after  Lord  Herbert  had  obtained  this  grant,  he  proceeded 
to  erect  a  mansion  on  the  ground  acquired,  the  architect  being  Colin 
Campbell,  who  gives  an  elevation  and  ground  plan  of  the  building  in 
his  Vitruvius  Britannicus }  Ralph  remarks  that  at  one  time  the  Earl's 
house  "  seemed  at  least  to  be  pretty,  and  wanted  but  little  of  being 
elegant  ;  but  now  his  lordship  has  thought  proper  to  alter  it  in  such 
a  manner,  that  it  would  be  hardly  known  by  either  of  these  epithets ; 
to  hide  the  whole  front  of  a  house  for  the  sake  of  the  offices  is  certainly 
something  of  a  mistake."  With  its  stabling  and  outbuildings  it  seems, 
as  Canon  Sheppard  points  out,  to  have  covered  more  ground  than  had 
been  leased  to  Lord  Herbert  ;  no  doubt  in  those  easygoing  times,  so 
far  as  boundaries  at  least  were  concerned,  a  few  square  yards  more  or 
less  were  not  considered  to  make  much  difference,  and  were  appropriated 
with  impunity  ! 

It  is  probable  that  a  thirty-one  years'  lease  had  been  obtained,  as  this 
seems  to  have  been  about  the  usual  term  granted  ;  and,  in  1728,  we  find 
Lord  Herbert  applying  for,  and  obtaining  two  years  later,  a  new  fifty 
years'  lease.     A  few  years  later  still,  there  arose  a  quarrel  between  Lord 

•  Critical  Review  of  Buildings  in  London. 

^  In  the  Grace  collection  is  also  a  ground  plan  of  the  mansion,  which,  according  to  Mr. 
Blomfield,  was  designed  in  1724. 


PEMBROKE   HOUSE  143 

Herbert  and  Lady  Portland  who  occupied  certain  houses  where  "  the  three 
most  northern  "  residences  in  Whitehall  Gardens  now  stand,  as  to  the 
exclusive  enjoyment  of  the  Terrace  belonging  to  the  old  Palace,  the  use  of 
which  the  Countess  had  arrogated  to  herself.  The  matter^  does  not  par- 
ticularly concern  us  here,  except  inasmuch  as  in  one  of  his  rejoinders  to 
Lady  Portland's  counter-complaints,  Lord  Pembroke,  as  he  had  become, 
having  succeeded  his  father  in  the  title,  in  1733,  incidentally  mentions  that 
he  had  laid  out  no  less  than  ;^8ooo  on  the  mansion  he  had  erected,  which 
shows  that  it  was  even  at  that  time  a  place  of  some  importance. 

In  1744,  Lord  Pembroke  appHes  for  a  fresh  lease,  and,  I  suppose, 
having  in  view  his  former  recriminations  with  Lady  Portland  on  the 
question  of  the  use  of  the  Terrace,  he  desired  that  in  the  new  lease 
should  be  included  "  the  portion  of  Queen  Mary's  Terras  which  was 
used  for  pleasure  and  ornament  to  the  said  Queen's  lodgings,  which  stood 
where  your  memorialist's  house  stands."  A  fresh  lease  for  fifty  years 
was  granted,  but  the  petition  had  apparently  opened  the  eyes  of  the 
authorities  to  Lord  Pembroke's  encroachments,  for  the  official  report 
notices  the  fact  that  a  "  Portall  "  to  the  courtyard  of  Pembroke  House 
was  standing  on  ground  not  included  in  the  former  lease  ;  however,  the 
easygoing  authorities  let  the  matter  pass. 

Lord  Pembroke  died  in  175 1,  and  five  years  after  that  event,  his  son 
and  successor,  the  tenth  Earl,  whom  Walpole  calls  "  a  fine  boy,"  and 
who  married  the  second  daughter  of  Charles,  Duke  of  Marlborough, 
demolished  the  old  house  which  had  become  ruinous,  and  erected  a  still 
more  imposing  residence  on  its  site.  A  ground  plan  of  this  house  (dated 
1797),  preserved  at  the  Board  of  Works,  shows  not  only  that  the  mansion 
was  of  considerable  extent,  but  also  that  the  stables  and  outbuildings, 
and  particularly  a  large  riding-school,  which  had  been  erected  on  the 
site  of  a  portion  of  the  Terrace,  covered  a  large  area.  In  consequence 
of  this  fresh  outlay  a  new  lease  was  applied  for,  and  granted  in  1757.^ 
The  plan  just  referred  to  was  prepared  when  the  eleventh  Earl  of 
Pembroke,  who  had  succeeded  his  father  in  1794,  applied  for  still  another 
lease,  in  which  application  he  states  that  the  sum  of  ^22,000  had  been 
expended  on  the  rebuilding  of  the  mansion  forty  years  previously,  and 
that  it  was  then  (in  1797)  in  "  substantial  and  complete  repair." 

Six  years  later  a  renewed  lease  for  sixty-three  years  was  granted,  and 
apparently  Lord  Pembroke  continued  to  use  the  mansion  as  his  London 
residence  till  his  death  in  1827. 

'   It  is  dealt  with  fully  in  Canon  Sheppard's  Royal  Palace  of  Whitehall. 
'  In  the  Grace  collection  is  an  elevation  of  "the  Rt.   Hon.  Lord  Herbert,  his  house  in 
Whitehall,"  dated  1761. 


144    THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

A  few  years  later,  however,  the  twelfth  Earl  granted  a  twenty-one 
years'  lease  of  the  property  to  the  fourth  Earl  of  Harrington,  who,  as 
Lord  Petersham,  had  been  the  famous  dandy  of  the  Regency,  and  had 
married  in  183 1,  Miss  Maria  Foote  the  actress.  Lord  Harrington  seems 
to  have  been  renting  the  mansion  previously  to  the  year  in  which  he 
was  married,  until  he  had  arranged  for  this  lease,  five  years  after 
obtaining  which  he  made  some  additions  to  the  residence  and  changed 
its  name  to  Harrington  House.  Lord  Albemarle  in  his  Fifty  Tears  of 
my  Life  speaks  of  the  theatricals  at  Harrington  House,  which  had  been 
inaugurated  by  the  Duchesses  of  Bedford  and  Leinster  and  Lady  Caroline 
Sandford,  for  the  amusement  of  their  father,  the  third  Earl  of  Harrington, 
"  whose  eyes  and  infirmities  prevented  him  from  stirring  abroad."  As 
the  third  Earl  died  in  1829,  it  would  seem  that  these  displays  first  took 
place  at  the  earlier  town  residence  of  the  family  in  the  precincts  of  St. 
James's  Palace,  but  they  were  probably  continued  at  Harrington  House, 
Whitehall,  especially  as  the  reigning  Countess's  former  career  peculiarly 
fitted  her  for  presiding  over  such  entertainments.  Among  those  who 
figured  in  them  were,  besides  Lord  Albemarle  himself  then  the  Hon. 
George  Keppel,  the  Duchess  of  Leinster  and  Lady  Caroline  Sandford  ; 
Mrs.  Leicester  Stanhope,  afterwards  fifth  Countess  of  Harrington, 
and  the  Hon.  Georgina  Elphinstone,  later  Lady  William  Godolphin 
Osborne. 

Lord  Harrington  died  in  1851,  whereupon,  although  eight  years  of 
his  term  had  yet  to  expire,  the  Crown  took  over  the  house  for  use  as 
the  office  of  the  Inclosure  and  Tithe  Commissioners,  when  it  seems  to 
have  been  known  again  as  Pembroke  House  ;  at  least  so  it  is  termed  in 
a  letter  of  1855,  in  which  year  a  portion  of  it  was  used  by  the  War  Office, 
which  continued  here  for  some  four  years. 

Its  later  history,  as  part  of  Government  offices,^  hardly  concerns  us 
here  ;  but  it  is  interesting  to  know  that  among  the  contents  of  the 
mansion  when  it  was  occupied  by  the  Herbert  family,  were  certain  pic- 
tures which  more  recently  hung  in  Herbert  House,  Belgrave  Square, 
when  that  mansion  was  the  residence  of  Lady  Herbert  of  Lea. 


GWYDYR  HOUSE 

GwYDYR  House  is  practically  the  only  one  of  the  former  great  private 
residences  in  Whitehall  which  to-day  preserves  unaltered  its  former  out- 
ward appearance  ;    it  is   besides   the   best  known  to  "  the   man   in   the 
'  It  is  now  occupied  by  the  Board  of  Trade. 


GWYDYR   HOUSE  145 

street,"  for  it  occupies  a  prominent  position  here,  which  the  proximity 
of  newer  and  more  pretentious  buildings  only  helps  to  accentuate. 

It  owes  its  existence  to  Sir  Peter  Burrell,  created  in  1796,  Lord 
Gwydyr,  and  who  is  known  also  as  the  husband  of  Mrs.  Burrell,  one  of 
the  few  untitled  Patronesses  of  Almack's,  and  a  person  of  very  great  im- 
portance in  the  fashionable  annals  of  her  day. 

In  1769,  Sir  Peter  Burrell,  who  had  been  created  a  Baronet  three 
years  earlier,  and  was  to  be  made  a  peer  twenty-seven  years  later,  held 
the  office  of  Surveyor-General  of  Land  Revenue,  and  being  concerned 
for  the  safety  of  various  books  and  documents  connected  with  his  office, 
applied  for  the  grant  "  of  a  small  piece  of  void  and  useless  ground  ad- 
joining to  the  Lamplighters'  Office  in  Whitehall  ...  on  which  a  house 
might  be  erected." 

In  consequence  of  this  application,  a  lease  was  granted  in  the  following 
year.  Finding,  however,  that  the  site  granted  him  was  not  sufficient  for 
his  purpose.  Sir  Peter  asked  for  an  additional  grant  of  an  adjoining  piece 
of  ground  to  the  north  and  also  desired  that  the  new  lease  should  include 
the  former  site  as  well ;  aU  of  which  he  obtained  at  the  end  of  1771. 

In  the  following  year  Gwydyr  House  was  begun,^  and  when  com- 
pleted is  stated  to  have  cost  some  ^6000,  while  it  would  seem  that  it 
became  Sir  Peter's  private  residence  as  well  as  his  official  headquarters, 
for,  in  1802,  the  second  Lord  Gwydyr  applied  for  a  new  lease  of  the 
residence,  which  was  granted  for  a  term  to  expire  in  1871. 

Subsequently  the  Baroness  Willoughby  d'Eresby  who  had,  as  Lady 
Elizabeth  Burrell,  wife  of  Mr.  Burrell,  Sir  Peter's  son,  succeeded  to  that 
famous  title  through  the  sudden  death  of  her  brother  the  Duke  of 
Ancaster,  purchased  the  leasehold  interest  in  the  house.  Her  husband 
became  Lord  Gwydyr,  in  course  of  time,  and  here  assembled  a  remark- 
able collection  of  china.  He  is  known  to  have  been  so  enthusiastic  in 
pursuit  of  his  hobby,  that  on  one  occasion,  as  Mary  Berry  records  in 
1809,  he  purchased  in  Fogg's  china-shop  a  service  of  Sevres  for  £600, 
a  great  price  in  those  days,  while  at  the  same  time  he  bought  a  quantity 
of  other  valuable  and  beautiful  porcelain. 

Wraxall  gives  an  interesting  account  of  the  extraordinary  good  fortune 
of  the  family  with  whom  Gwydyr  House  is  chiefly  identified.  Sir 
Peter's  second  daughter  married  Lord  Algernon  Percy  ;  the  third  became 
the  wife,  first  of  the  Duke  of  Hamilton,  and  on  his  death,  of  the 
first  Marquis  of  Exeter,  in  1800;  and  the  other  daughter  was  in  1779, 
wedded,  as  his  second  wife,   to  the  second  Duke  of  Northumberland  ; 

'  According  to  a  statement  in  London  Past  and  Present,  it  was  erected  in  1796,  from 
designs  by  John  Marquand,  a  surveyor  in  the  Woods  and  Forests  office. 

K 


146    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

while  his  son,  as  I  have  indicated,  married  EHzabeth  Bertie,  eldest 
daughter  of  the  third  Duke  of  Ancaster.  Well  might  Wraxall  remark 
that  within  his  remembrance  "  in  no  private  family  has  that  prosperous 
chain  of  events  which  we  denominate  fortune,  appeared  to  be  so  con- 
spicuously displayed,  or  so  strongly  exemplified." 

On  the  death  of  the  Baroness  Willoughby  d'Eresby,  the  leasehold 
interest  enjoyed  by  that  lady  was  left  by  her  to  her  daughter,  who  had 
become  Countess  of  Clare,  for  her  life  ;  but  she  seems  not  to  have  resided 
here,  but  to  have  let  the  house,  for  in  1838  the  Reform  Club  was  occu- 
pying it  pending  the  building  of  their  fine  headquarters  in  Pall  Mall ; 
and  later  in  1842,  the  Government  paid  ;^700  a  year  for  the  mansion  as  a 
home  for  the  Commissioners  of  Woods.  In  this  way  it  was  held  for 
twenty-seven  years,  when  the  Poor  Law  Board  replaced  them. 

The  lease  to  the  Burrell  family  expired,  as  I  have  said,  in  1 87 1,  on 
which  event  the  Commissioners  of  Woods  took  over  the  property  at  an 
annual  rental  of  ^1300.  The  Local  Government  Board  was  here,  in  the 
following  year,  for  a  short  time  ;  and  in  1876  the  Charity  Commissioners 
took  possession  and  occupied  the  place  until  it  was  taken  over  by  the 
Board  of  Trade. 

A  wing  of  one  storey  was  added  to  the  building  ten  years  since  ; 
but  with  that  exception  Gwydyr  House  remains  externally  as  it  appeared 
when  erected  over  one  hundred  and  thirty  years  ago. 


CARRINGTON,   FORMERLY  GOWER,   HOUSE 

Unlike  Gwydyr  House,  the  once  famous  residence  known  as  Carrington 
House  has  entirely  disappeared,  the  site  on  which  it  stood  being  to-day 
partly  occupied  by  the  stupendous  buildings  of  the  War  Office,  and  the 
Horse  Guards  Avenue  which  runs  on  the  south  side  of  it. 

It  was  erected  somewhere  between  the  years  1764  and  1779,  by  the 
second  Lord  Gower,  who  was  created  Marquis  of  Stafford  in  1786,  and  of 
whom  Wraxall  wrote  that  "  his  vast  property,  when  added  to  his  alliances 
of  consanguinity,  or  of  marriage,  with  the  first  ducal  families  in  the 
country,  rendered  him  one  of  the  most  considerable  subjects  in  the 
Kingdom."  ' 

When  Lord  Gower  built  the  house,  the  site  on  which  it  was  erected 
was  officially  described  "  as  the  front  part  towards  the  street  (Whitehall), 
consisting  of  old  buildings  that  escaped  the  fire  when  Whitehall  was 
burned "  ;    the    architect   employed    being   Sir  William   Chambers.     On 

^  Posthumous  Memoirs,  vol.  i.  p.  232. 


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148     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

found  among  its  foundations  at  the  depths  of  some  five  or  six  feet,  "  the 
remains  of  several  clearly  defined  and  well-made  roads,"  which  must 
evidently  have  been  formed  before  the  Palace  buildings  extended  over  the 
large  area  they  covered  in  the  days  of  Charles  II. ;  ^  while  there  was  also 
discovered,  among  other  relics,  an  old  elm  pile  pier  or  jetty,  indicating  the 
former  proximity  of  the  river,  as  well  as  some  glass  tear-bottles,  &c. 

By  the  kindness  of  Lord  Carrington,  I  have  had  access  to  a  book  of 
photographs  and  paper-cuttings  referring  to  Carrington  House,  and  by 
its  help  I  am  enabled  to  give  some  details  of  the  splendid  interior  of  the 
mansion,  as  it  was  when  still  one  of  the  great  houses  of  London. 

In  the  outer  Hall  was  preserved  the  sedan-chair  which  the  first  Lady 
Carrington  habitually  used  ;  and  the  niches  in  the  inner  Hall  at  the  foot 
of  the  grand  staircase  were  filled  with  statues  and  busts  ;  a  French  clock 
mounted  on  a  pedestal,  and  a  porcelain  figure  of  Marie  Antoinette  stood 
on  a  commode.  In  the  Dining-Room,  which  had  a  rounded  end,  in  the 
middle  of  which  was  the  fireplace  of  white  statuary  marble  inlaid  with 
Brocatella,  hung  the  equestrian  portrait  of  Careno  da  Monanda  ;  while  the 
walls  and  ceiling  were  decorated  with  wreaths  and  garlands  in  high  relief. 
The  Music-Room  was  octagonal  in  form,  and  in  four  of  its  walls  were 
recesses  reaching  nearly  to  the  ceiling  and  filled  with  costly  porcelain 
plates  and  plaques  arranged  in  patterns.  With  each  side  of  the 
Music-Room,  Lord  and  Lady  Carrington's  Sitting-Rooms  respectively 
communicated  ;  in  the  former  hung  a  portrait  of  Pitt  over  the  mantel- 
piece ;  while  Gainsborough's  girl  with  a  dog  in  her  arms  was  placed 
close  by,  and  other  pictures  included  a  Dutch  sea-piece  and  an  old  view 
of  Whitehall  showing  the  Banqueting-Room  ;  in  the  latter,  a  beautiful 
head  of  a  girl  by  Greuze  was  noticeable,  and  the  note  of  eighteenth- 
century  French  art  was  further  carried  out  by  cabinets  of  rare  Sevres 
china,  and  a  remarkable  piece  of  Louis  Quinze  furniture  containing  a 
clock  surmounted  by  a  group  of  cupids  in  Clodian's  graceful  style. 

Another  fine  room  was  that  known  as  Lord  Carrington's  Dressing- 
Room,  which  had  been  restored  on  the  advice  of  Count  d'Orsay ; 
the  walls  being  hung  in  green  satin,  and  the  ceiling  and  doors  decorated 
in  white  and  gold.  It  was,  by-the-bye,  from  the  windows  of  this  room 
that  the  Prince  and  Princess  of  Wales,  with  a  distinguished  company, 
witnessed  the  great  Liberal  procession  in  favour  of  the  Reform  Bill  of 
1884,  which  marched  down  Whitehall  on  July  21st  of  that  year,  and 
occupied  over  three  hours  in  passing  Carrington  House. 

The  Blue  Drawing-Room  was  one  of  the  most  beautiful  apartments 
in  the  mansion,  and  here  the  ceiling  had  been  painted  by  Angelica 
'  A  writer  in  the  Birmingham  Post  for  1900,  quoted  by  Canon  Sheppard. 


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PORTLAND   HOUSE  149 

Kauffmann  ;  while  the  compartments  of  the  ceiHng  of  the  Bali-Room 
were  also  decorated  by  some  almost  equally  facile  brush.  This  room  was 
a  superb  one  in  every  way,  being  no  less  than  60  feet  long  by  30 
wide  and  proportionately  lofty.  It  was  decorated  in  the  classic  style  of 
which  Chambers  was  so  well-known  an  exponent,  and  with  the  painted 
ceiling  was  in  every  way  worthy  of  the  many  great  functions  that  took 
place  within  it.  The  splendid  marble  mantelpiece  was,  at  the  sale  of 
the  materials  of  the  house,  purchased  by  Lord  Carrington,  and  is  now 
at  Wycombe  Abbey.  These  mantelpieces  were,  indeed,  a  feature  of 
the  house  and  fetched  large  prices  ;  that  in  the  Blue  Drawing-Room, 
of  white  marble  inlaid  with  slabs  of  Sienna,  realising  ^75  ;  the  carved 
wooden  one  in  the  Steward's  Room,  with  massive  caryatids,  ^60  ;  that 
in  the  Music-Room,  of  white  statuary  marble  inlaid  with  Brocatella, 
£^6 ;  and  those  in  other  parts  of  the  house  proportionately  good 
amounts.^ 

It  is  interesting  to  know  that  all  the  floors  of  Carrington  House  were 
of  oak  ;  while  the  stone  steps  of  the  great  staircase  were  no  less  than  six 
feet  in  width. 

PORTLAND   HOUSE 

Just  as  Richmond  House  stood  to  the  south  of  the  present  Montagu 
House,  so  the  large  residence  of  the  Duke  of  Portland  once  occupied 
ground  immediately  to  the  north.  The  area  covered  by  it  and  its  gardens 
was  leased  to  William,  first  Earl  of  Portland,  of  the  Bentinck  line,  in  1696. 
This  nobleman,  who  is  known  for  his  adherence  to,  and  personal  friend- 
ship with,  William  HI.,  by  whom  he  was  raised  to  the  peerage  in  1689, 
is  spoken  of  by  St.  Simon  in  these  terms  :  "  Portland  parut  avec  un  eclat 
personnel,  une  politesse,  un  air  du  monde  et  de  cour,  une  galanterie  et 
des  graces  qui  surprirent.  Avec  cela,  beaucoup  de  dignity,  meme  de 
hauteur."  "-  He  married,  en  second  noces,  the  Dowager  Baroness  Berkeley 
of  Stratton,  whom  I  suppose  to  have  been  the  widow  of  the  third  Lord 
Berkeley  of  Stratton. 

Although  the  usual  first  term  of  leases  for  ground  within  the  old 
palace  precincts  appears  to  have  been  generally  for  thirty-one  years,  that 
granted  to  the  Earl  was  for  forty-two.  For  the  benefit  of  those  who 
may  have  Vertue's  plan  of  1680  before  them,  the  following  extract  from 
the  lease  will  help  to  show  the  relative  position  of  the  ground  obtained, 
to  the  buildings  of  the  palace.     It  is  spoken  of  as  "  abutting  westerly 

'  Most  of  these  were  purchased  by  Lord  Hilhngdon. 
*  Memoirs,  vol.  ii.  p.  69. 


I50     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

upon  another  passage  .  .  .  called  the  Stone  Gallery  .  .  .  and  adjoining 
southerly  to  other  ground  whereon  certain  buildings  formerly  stood,  late 
consumed  by  the  fire,  and  then  ruined,  and  a  kitchen  there  of  Algernon, 
Earl  of  Essex,  extending  in  that  part  from  a  place  where  the  Stone 
Gallery  also  was  formerly,  upon  the  west  part  of  the  River  Thames  .  .  . 
and  abutting  easterly  upon  a  yard  or  garden  called  the  '  Terras  Walk,' 
and  upon  the  River  of  Thames,  and  containing  in  that  part  105  feet, 
little  more  or  less."  ^ 

From  a  manuscript  plan  preserved  in  the  Office  of  Woods  and  Forests, 
Portland  House  appears  to  have  been  a  large  and  imposing  structure, 
but  from  the  official  reports  made  when  fresh  leases  were  applied  for, 
mention  is  only  made  of  "  a  slight  old  building,  part  timber  and  part 
brick,"  with  some  out-buildings,  together  estimated  at  only  ^200  per 
annum,  as  they  are  described  when,  in  1724,  the  first  Duke  of  Portland 
(so  created  in  1716,  having  succeeded  his  father  as  second  Earl  in  1709) 
petitioned  for  a  new  lease.  The  Duke  died  two  years  later  and  before 
the  lease  had  been  granted,  when  his  widow,  in  1738,  obtained  a  fresh 
grant  for  a  term  of  thirty-six  years.  Six  years  after  this,  the  second 
Duke  of  Portland  applied  for  and  obtained  a  fresh  lease  of  fifty  years 
of  the  property,  at  which  time  the  Dowager  Countess  of  Portland  (widow 
of  the  first  Earl)  also  obtained  a  fresh  lease  for  a  similar  term,  of  premises 
she  had  occupied  for  some  time  previous  to  the  year  1719,  which,  it  is 
stated,  comprised  as  well  as  ground  "  a  house  which  she  had  repaired 
at  a  cost  of  at  least  ^500,"  and  which  was  officially  acknowledged  to  be 
"  very  substantially  built." 

Again,  so  much  later  as  1772,  when  the  third  Duke  applied  for  a 
fresh  lease,  the  buildings  were  described  as  being  "in  so  ruinous  a  con- 
dition at  the  time  of  the  last  renewal  that  there  were  several  props  under 
them  to  support  them  from  falling  down,"  and  although  "  they  are  now 
in  a  better  state,"  proceeds  the  report,  they  were  only  valued  at  ^^200 
per  annum,  as  they  had  been  in  1724. 

What  I  therefore  gather  from  the  very  complicated  nature  of  the 
data  given,  is  that  the  property  belonged  to  the  head  of  the  Bentinck 
family,  and  that  the  house  on  it  was  used  as  a  Dower  House,  first  by 
the  Dowager  Countess  and  afterwards  by  the  Dowager  Duchess,  widow 
of  the  first  Duke."  I  am  somewhat  confirmed  in  this  by  the  fact  that 
the   first   Duke   of  Portland  lived  in   St.  James's   Square  from   1710  to 

'  Quoted  in  The  Old  Palace  of  Whitehall;  where  it  is  stated  that  although  the  mansion  was 
afterwards  known  as  Portland  House,  no  mention  is  made  of  it  in  the  books  of  the  Office  of 
Woods  and  Forests. 

"  In  the  Grace  collection  is  a  "View  of  the  House  and  Museum  of  the  late  Duchess  of 
Portland  "  ;  being  a  drawing  by  J.  Bromley,  dated  1796. 


PORTLAND   HOUSE  151 

1722,  at  old  St.  Albans  House,  and  had  previously  resided  in  another 
house  close  by  before  that,  so  that  it  is  obvious  that  he  did  not  reside  in 
Whitehall ;  and  the  only  mention  of  a  residence  in  any  sense  comparable 
to  the  outlines  given  on  the  plan  I  have  referred  to  before,  occurs  in 
connection  with  petitions  by  the  Countess  of  Portland  for  new  leases. 
It  was  this  lady  who  had  a  lengthy  dispute  with  her  neighbour.  Lord 
Pembroke,  on  the  question  of  her  right  to  use  the  "  Terras  Walk,"  with 
the  result  that  she  surrendered  her  lease,  and  obtained  the  fresh  one 
in  1744,  to  which  I  have  before  referred.  Subsequently  her  house  was 
divided  into  two  dwellings,  one  of  them  being  occupied,  in  1773,  by 
Captain,  afterwards  Admiral,  Bentinck,  and  the  other  by  a  Mr.  Andrew 
Stone,  who  died  in  1774;  when,  a  little  over  thirty  years  later,  his  widow 
obtained  a  further  term  of  seventeen  years  of  the  premises. 

In  1805,  the  Duke  of  Portland  sold  his  interest  in  the  property  to 
the  Crown,  and  certain  buildings  upon  it  were  soon  afterwards  pulled 
down.  There  still,  however,  remained  the  old  mansion,  divided,  as  I 
have  said,  into  two  residences.  That  portion  once  belonging  to  Stone 
later  became  the  property  of  Lady  Exeter,  who  lived  there,  and  who,  when 
Whitehall  Gardens  were  commenced  on  the  site  of  that  portion  of  the 
property  sold  by  the  Duke  of  Portland,  refused  to  give  up  her  interest 
in  the  house.  The  lease  of  it,  however,  ran  out  in  1824,  when  Sir  Robert 
Peel  became  the  owner,  and  he  and  Mr.  Grant,  who  had  come  into  pos- 
session of  Admiral  Bentinck's  residence  adjoining,  pulled  down  their  old 
houses  and  built  three  on  their  site,  Mr.  Grant  being  responsible  for  two 
of  them.  It  is  said  that  Sir  Robert's  cost  him  ^14,000  to  build,  and 
the  two  erected  by  Mr.  Grant  together  but  ;£iooo  more.  These  three 
residences  completed  the  terrace  as  designed  by  the  Crown.  It  was  in 
his  house  here  that  Sir  Robert  Peel  died  in  1850,  having  taken  up  his 
residence  here  in  1828.  It  is  numbered  4  Whitehall  Gardens,  and  re- 
mains substantially  as  it  was,  so  far  at  any  rate  as  external  appearance 
goes,  in  his  day,  when  its  walls  were  covered  by  that  magnificent  collec- 
tion of  pictures  which  now  forms  one  of  the  glories  of  the  National  Gallery. 
Here  Haydon  used  to  come  with  his  eloquent  appeals  for  State  aid  on 
behalf  of  historical  painting,  and  here  much  of  the  history  of  the  earlier 
years  of  Queen  Victoria's  reign  was  made.  Having  this  latter  point  in 
view  it  is  curious  and  interesting  to  know  that  at  No.  2  Benjamin  Disraeli 
lived  for  some  years  from  1873,  and  it  is  probable  that  here  he  wrote 
Lothair,  in  which  occurs  the  famous  description  of  Stafford  House  which 
I  have  noticed  elsewhere  in  this  volume. 


152     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

FIFE   HOUSE 

Most  of  the  great  houses  on  the  Thames  side  of  old  Whitehall  had 
grounds  or  rights  of  way  extending  to  the  river,  but  one  of  them — Fife 
House — stood  practically  on  its  very  bank,  where  old  Whitehall  Stairs 
had  been  before. 

Its  site  appears  to  have  been  occupied  originally  by  a  house  built 
about  1685  by  Patrick  Lambe,  one  of  Charles  II.'s  master-cooks,  who 
had  obtained  at  that  date  a  thirty-one  years'  lease  for  the  purpose.  This 
house  appears  to  have  been  burnt  at  the  time  of  the  disastrous  fire,  and  so 
much  later  as  1717,  Edmund  Dunch  is  found  obtaining  a  lease  of  the 
ground,  which  lease  was  confirmed  to  his  widow  five  years  later,  for  a  term 
of  fifty  years  ;  when,  however,  thirty  years  of  it  had  expired,  she  applied 
for  a  fresh  one,  which  being  granted,  became  some  ten  years  later  vested  in 
Sir  George  and  Lady  Oxenden,  who  stated  their  intention  of  building  one 
or  two  new  houses  on  the  site  ;  this,  however,  they  did  not  do,  but  sold 
their  lease  to  the  second  Earl  of  Fife,  who,  in  1764,  obtained  a  fresh 
lease  of  the  property,  and  it  would  seem  practically  rebuilt  the  mansion 
in  1772.  He  found,  however,  that  the  foreshore  between  his  land  and 
the  river  was  "  dumping  ground  "  for  all  the  refuse  of  the  neighbour- 
hood, and  he  applied  to  be  allowed  to  "  embank  to  low  water,"  and  to 
take  the  ground  thus  recovered  into  his  own  garden.  Although  it  was 
officially  stated  that  such  a  proposed  embankment  would  not  be  liable  to 
affect  the  navigation  of  the  river,  and  would  prove  an  efficient  remedy 
against  the  nuisance  complained  of,  and  although  a  lease  had  been  granted 
for  that  purpose  in  1782,  nothing  appears  to  have  been  done  till  1805, 
when,  in  an  application  for  a  fresh  lease.  Lord  Fife  points  out  that  beyond 
having  spent  a  large  amount  in  "  building  and  adorning  "  the  house,  he 
was  then  occupied  in  forming,  at  great  expense,  an  embankment  on  the 
ground  leased  to  him  over  twenty  years  previously. 

Four  years  after  this,  however.  Lord  Fife  died,  when  his  lease  was 
assigned  to  the  Earl  of  Liverpool,  in  consideration  of  a  sum  of  ^12,000, 
and  he,  in  1825,  obtained  a  fresh  lease  of  the  whole  property.  Lord 
Liverpool,  whose  career  as  a  statesman  is  well  known,  was  Prime  Minister 
from  1 812  to  1827,  and  it  was  in  the  latter  year  that  he  was  seized  with 
a  paralytic  stroke  in  the  library  here,  which  eventually  caused  his  death 
in  1829,  when  his  half-brother,  the  third  Earl,  succeeded  him  in  the 
ownership  of  the  mansion;  he  dying  in  September  1851,  the  lease  was 
assigned  to  Mr.  George  Savile  Foljambe,  his  son-in-law,  who  resided  here 
till  i860,  eight  years  after  which  date  the  property  reverted  to  the  Crown. 


FIFE   HOUSE  153 

Mr.  Foljambe's  son  was  created  Lord  Hawkesbury  in  1893,^  and  in 
his  town  residence,  2  Carlton  House  Terrace,  is  now  preserved  the  bulk 
of  the  furniture  which  was  formerly  in  Fife  House,  and  which  was  removed 
hither  some  forty-six  years  since,  when  that  residence  was  given  up. 

Pennant  gives  some  details  of  the  interior  decorations  of  Fife  House  : 
"  In  the  great  room  is  some  very  fine  tapestry,"  he  says,  and  adds,  "  I 
never  can  suihciently  admire  the  expression  of  passions  in  two  of  the 
subjects  ;  the  fine  history  of  Joseph  disclosing  himself  to  his  brethren,  and 
that  of  Susanna  accused  by  the  two  elders.  Here  are  also  great  numbers 
of  fine  paintings  by  foreign  masters  ;  but,  as  I  confine  myself  to  those 
which  relate  to  our  own  country,  I  shall  only  mention  a  small  three- 
quarters  of  Mary  Stuart,  with  her  child,  an  infant,  standing  on  a  table 
before  her.  This  beautiful  performance  is  on  marble.  A  head  of 
Charles  I.,  when  Prince  of  Wales,  done  in  Spain,  when  he  was  there  in 
1625,^  on  his  romantic  expedition  to  court  the  Infanta.  It  is  supposed 
to  be  the  work  of  Velasquez.  A  portrait  of  William,  Earl  of  Pembroke, 
Lord  High  Chamberlain  in  the  beginning  of  the  reign  of  Charles  I.  ; 
a  small  full  length  in  black,  with  his  white  rod  in  one  hand,  his  hat  in  the 
other,  standing  in  a  room  looking  into  a  garden.  Such  is  the  merit  of 
this  piece,  that,  notwithstanding  it  is  supposed  to  have  been  the  per- 
formance of  Jameson,  the  Scotch  Vandyck,  yet  it  hath  often  been  attri- 
buted to  the  great  Flemish  painter." 

The  pictures  of  a  later  date  which  once  hung  here  included  Romney's 
portrait  of  the  first  Earl  of  Liverpool ;  two  of  the  second  Earl  by  Hoppner 
and  Lawrence  respectively,  and  a  portrait  of  William  Pitt. 

Fife  House  existed  for  just  upon  a  hundred  years,  having  been  completed 
in  1772  and  demolished  in  1869.  Although  without  any  particular  preten- 
tions to  architectural  beauty,  its  rooms  were  commodious  and  its  staircase 
fine  ;  while  its  grounds,  after  the  addition  had  been  made  to  them  by 
the  enclosing  and  embanking  of  the  foreshore,  must  have  been  delightful ; 
and  Pennant  remarks  on  the  matchless  view  obtained  from  them  of  the 
two  bridges,  "  with  the  magnificent  expanse  of  water,  Somerset  House, 
St.  Paul's,  and  multitudes  of  other  objects  less  magnificent,  but  which 
serve  to  complete  the  beautiful  scene." 

It  was  this  proximity  to  the  river  that  made  it  possible  to  bring  the 
coal  supply  to  the  house  by  water,  and  to  shoot  the  coal  direct  from 
barges  into  the  cellar — perhaps  a  unique  method,  so  far  as  nineteenth 
century  houses  are  concerned,  of  delivering  fuel. 

1  The  third  Lord  Liverpool  was  also  third  Lord  Hawkesbury,  of  a  former  creation  (1786), 
and  the  title  was  thus  restored  in  favour  of  Mr.  Foljambe. 
*  This  is  an  error  ;  Charles  was  of  course  in  Spain  in  1623. 


154     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Two  other  interesting  facts  regarding  Fife  House  are  recorded,  one 
being  that  the  old  entrance  gates  are  now  at  the  Duke  of  Fife's  late 
residence  at  Sheen,  or  were  till  recently  (for  the  place  has  since  been 
sold),  they  having  been  purchased  by  Lord  Carrington  and  presented 
to  the  Duke  on  his  marriage  ;  and  the  other  that  Lord  Fife,  who 
built  the  mansion,  swore  that  if  he  lived  in  London  he  would  do  so 
on  Scotch  soil,  for  which  purpose  gravel  was  brought  from  Doune 
(afterwards  called  Macduff)  in  Scotland  to  form  the  foundations  of  the 
mansion  !  ^ 

There  were  of  course  a  number  of  lesser  houses  on  this,  the  river,  side 
of  Whitehall — Cromwell  House,  and  Holdernesse  House  known  later  as 
Michael  Angelo  Taylor's  House  ;  Malmesbury  House,  and  Lord 
Grantham's  residence,  all  situated  in  what  was  once  Whitehall  Yard, 
where  the  Horse  Guards  Avenue  and  the  War  Office  now  stand,  but 
they  were  not  of  the  importance  of  those  already  mentioned  in  this 
chapter.  On  the  other  side  of  Whitehall,  however,  were  several  extremely 
important  mansions,  one  or  two  of  which,  sadly  curtailed  and  incor- 
porated with  the  great  series  of  Government  buildings  that  now  stand 
there,  must  be  mentioned.  Of  these  are  Dover  House  ;  Stanhope  or 
Dorset  House ;  Wallingford  House  ;  and  Rochester  or  Clarendon  House. 
Dover  House  still  exists ;  Wallingford  House  is  incorporated  in  the 
Admiralty  ;  Rochester  House  has  long  since  passed  away  ;  and  only  a 
portion,  but  that  a  considerable  one,  of  Stanhope  House  still  remains 
behind  the  frontage  of  the  Treasury. 


DOVER  HOUSE 

Like  many  of  the  great  houses  in  Whitehall,  Dover  House  has  passed 
through  various  vicissitudes,  and  has  had  several  changes  of  nomenclature  ; 
that  which  it  still  bears  being  derived  from  the  title  of  its  last  private 
owner.  As  it  still  exists  it  is  easy  to  identify  its  relative  position  with 
that  of  old  Whitehall.  Thus  we  see  that  the  main  portion  of  the  building — 
that  is,  the  part  facing  the  Horse  Guards  Parade — lies  outside  the  precincts 
of  the  palace,  while  the  entrance  in  Whitehall,  with  the  large  Dome  and 
Portico,  stands  on  the  site  of  the  lodgings  of  the  Duke  of  Ormonde,  which 
joined  the  famous  Holbein  Gateway  on  the  west  side,  so  that  the  exact 

'  A  drawing  by  T.  Chawner,  dated  1828,  is  in  the  Grace  collection,  and  shows  the  entrance 
to  Fife  House.  The  gates  were  immediately  behind  Carrington  House,  to  the  east,  and  Sir 
John  Vanbrugh's  little  house,  afterwards  used  as  the  Royal  United  Service  Institution,  stood 
adjoining  them  to  the  north.  To  a  spot  near  here  the  colony  of  rooks,  once  domiciled  in  the 
trees  of  Carlton  House  gardens,  migrated  in  1827. 


DOVER   HOUSE  155 

relative  position  of  that  structure  to  the  present  thoroughfare  can  be  at 
once  reahsed. 

The  earHest  mention  of  the  original  house  occurs  in  the  year  171 7, 
when  a  lease  of  it  was  granted  to  Mr.  Hugh  Boscawen  for  the  usual  thirty- 
one  years.  Mr.  Boscawen  occupied  the  position  of  Comptroller  of  the 
Household  from  17 14  to  1720,  and  as  such  had  been  already  in  official 
possession  of  a  portion  of  the  Duke  of  Ormonde's  old  lodgings.  Adjoining 
these  were  certain  rooms  occupied  by  Mr.  Vanhuls  or  Van  Huls,  as  it  is 
variously  spelt,  who  had  been  Clerk  of  the  Robes  to  Queen  Anne ;  and 
soon  after  obtaining  his  lease,  Mr.  Boscawen  acquired  these  apartments 
also.  On  June  i8th,  1720,  he  was  created  Viscount  Falmouth,  and  in 
the  same  year  he  applied  for  a  fresh  lease  of  his  original  holding  together 
with  Mr.  Vanhuls'  lodgings,  and,  in  addition,  of  a  small  piece  of  ground 
on  what  is  now  the  Horse  Guards  Parade,  but  was  then  known  by  its 
old  name  of  the  Tilt  Yard.  This  application  was  granted,  but  power 
was  reserved  to  the  Crown  to  pull  down  Holbein's  Gateway,  and  to  make 
the  buildings  abutting  on  Whitehall  level  with  the  thoroughfare,  which 
meant  the  cutting  off  one  apartment  which  in  Vertue's  plan  of  1680 
appears  to  be  part  and  parcel  with  the  gate  itself,  but  which  had  been 
occupied,  with  the  rest  of  his  lodgings,  by  the  Duke  of  Ormonde. 

Lord  Falmouth,  one  of  those  who  deserted  Walpole's  Ministry  on 
the  question  of  the  investigation  of  the  sale  of  the  forfeited  South  Sea 
Company  estates,  and  whom  Hervey  called  "  a  blundering  blockhead  who 
spoke  on  one  side  and  voted  on  the  other,"  on  which  a  wit  said  that  the 
noble  lord  was  evidently  determined  to  do  the  Government  all  the  harm 
he  could,  as  he  spoke  for  them  and  voted  against  them,  died  in  1734,  and 
four  years  later  his  widow,  who,  by-the-bye,  was  niece  of  the  great  Duke  of 
Marlborough,  petitioned  for  a  fresh  lease,  which  was  granted  for  thirty- 
seven  years  from  1752  (the  former  lease  being  due  to  expire  in  that  year). 
Two  years  later,  however,  this  lease  was  disposed  of  to  Sir  Matthew 
Featherstonehaugh,  who,  having  obtained  a  still  further  extension,  rebuilt 
the  house  from  the  designs  of  James  Paine,  the  architect.^  On  his  death 
twenty  years  later,  his  widow  obtained  a  further  lease  for  the  rather  odd 
term  of  nineteen  years,  from  1805.  But  in  the  meantime — in  1787,  to 
be  precise — Sir  Henry  Featherstonehaugh,  who  had  succeeded  his  father  in 
the  baronetcy,  sold  the  leasehold  interest  to  the  Duke  of  York  for  £12,600. 
In  the  following  year,  a  Royal  Warrant  having  been  obtained  for  the 
purpose,  the  Duke  reconstructed  the  mansion  by  adding  a  new  front  to 
VVhitehall,  consisting  of  the  Dome  and  Portico  which  still  exist,  as  well  as 

'  The  work  was  executed  between   1754  and  1758.     There  is  a  plan  of  the  basement  of 
Dover  House  in  the  Grace  collection. 


156     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

a  grand  staircase  in  the  Ionic  style  designed  by  Henry  Holland,  a  view  of 
which,  entitled  "  The  Duke  of  York's  house,  as  altered  by  Holland,  1787," 
is  in  the  Grace  collection.^  A  fropos  of  the  circular  entrance  Hall,  Lord 
North  is  said  to  have  remarked  :  "  Then  the  Duke  of  York,  it  would 
seem,  has  been  sent  to  the  Round  House,  and  the  Prince  of  Wales  is  put 
in  the  Pillory  "  ;  this  referring,  of  course,  to  the  pillars  which  once  stood 
in  the  front  of  Carlton  House,  and  now  support  the  portico  of  the  National 
Gallery.  The  Duke  also  obtained  powers  to  rail  in  some  extra  ground  on 
the  Horse  Guards  Parade.  Having  made  these  improvements,  His  Royal 
Highness  applied  for,  and  obtained,  a  further  lease  of  fifty  years  from 
1 791,  and  gave  the  mansion  the  name  of  York  House.  But  the  Duke, 
who  never  seems  to  have  been  happy  for  long  in  one  place,  had  about 
this  time  cast  envious  eyes  on  the  first  Lord  Melbourne's  fine  freehold 
residence  in  Piccadilly,  now  known  as  Albany,  and  having  come  to  terms 
with  his  lordship,  exchanged  York  House  for  Melbourne  House  in 
November  1792,  making  an  equivalent  money  payment  in  view  of  his 
residence  being  only  leasehold. 

York  House  now  became  known  as  Melbourne  House,^  and  as  its 
existing  lease  was  due  to  expire  in  1842,  Lord  Melbourne,  in  1823,  ob- 
tained a  further  extension  for  forty  years  from  the  former  date.  Seven 
years  later,  however,  he  died,  whereupon  his  executors  assigned  his  interest 
in  the  property  to  the  Rt.  Hon.  James  Welbore  Agar-Ellis,  son  and  heir  of 
Viscount  Clifden,  and  afterwards  the  accomplished  Lord  Dover,  who 
wrote  a  "  Life  of  Frederick  the  Great,"  among  other  productions.  After 
his  death,  his  widow  became  possessed  of  it  and  resided  here  for  a  time, 
and  in  1864  it  passed  to  Lord  Clifden.  He  lived  here  till  his  death, 
after  which  event  Lady  Clifden  continued  here  till  the  expiration  of  the 
lease  in  1882,  when  for  three  years  longer  she  occupied  it  on  a  yearly 
tenancy.  The  Government  then  took  possession  of  the  property  and 
converted  it  into  the  office  of  the  Chief  Secretary  for  Scotland  and  other 
cognate  branches  of  the  Civil  Service. 

STANHOPE,   OR  DORSET  HOUSE 

Rather  to  the  south  of  Dover  House  stood  Stanhope,  or  as  it  was 
later  called,  Dorset  House,  after  it  had  been  enlarged.     Its  Whitehall 

•  In  the  same  collection  is  a  print  of  the  mansion  by  ISIiller,  engraved  by  MedlancI,  and 
dated  1795  ;  and  also  another  entitled  "  Melbourne  House,  formerly  York  House." 

^  It  is  stated  in  London  Past  and  Present,  that  in  1774  the  mansion  had  already  been 
occupied  by  Lord  Melbourne,  whose  famous  son,  the  future  Prime  Minister,  was  born  here,  five 
years  later  ;  while  the  same  authority  states  that  General  Amherst  once  resided  here.  If  so,  it 
must  have  been  let  on  occasion  by  Lady  Featherstonehaugh,  which  is  not  improbable. 


STANHOPE    HOUSE  157 

front,  a  portion  of  which  still  remains,  occupies  ground  once  covered 
by  the  lodgings  of  the  Duke  of  Monmouth,  abutting  to  the  north,  on 
the  entrance  to  the  Cockpit,  and  thus  occupying  an  almost  central 
position  on  the  west  side  of  the  road,  between  Holbein's  Gate  and  the 
King  Street  Gate.  The  Surveyor-General's  report  confirms  this,  for  the 
house  is  there  described  as  "  situate  in  or  near  ye  part  of  ye  Pallace  afore- 
said, called  ye  Cockpit  :  on  ye  west  side  of  ye  Street,  between  ye  two  gates, 
leading  from  Charing  Cross  to  Westminster."  The  portion  towards 
St.  James's  Park  occupied  part  of  the  site  of  the  Duke  of  Albemarle's 
lodgings,  which  lay  to  the  east  and  south  of  the  Cockpit. 

Although,  according  to  Canon  Sheppard,  the  first  lease  of  the  house 
was  granted  in  1717,  an  advertisement  in  the  London  Gaz-ette,^  dated  1672, 
indirectly  proves  that  it  was  known  as  Stanhope  House  thus  much  earlier  ; 
I  give  the  extract  as  being  in  other  ways  also  interesting  :— 

"  There  was  a  trunk  on  Saturday  last,  being  the  i8th  inst.  (July) 
cut  off  from  behind  the  Duke  of  Albemarle's  coach,  wherein  there  was  a 
gold  George,  18  shirts,  a  Tennis  sute  laced,  with  several  fronts  and  laced 
Cravats  and  other  linen  ;  if  any  can  give  tidings  of  them  to  Mr.  Lymbyery, 
the  Duke's  Steward  at  Stanhope  House,  near  Whitehall,  they  shall  have 
five  pounds  for  their  pains  and  all  charges  defrayed." 

It  would  therefore  seem  that  the  Duke's  lodgings  were  then  known 
by  this  name.  But  why  "  Stanhope  "  ?  It  sounds  like  a  daring  anticipa- 
tion, for  there  is  no  record  of  the  place  belonging  to  the  Stanhope  family 
till  the  lease  of  1717  was  granted  to  Thomas  Pitt,  Esq.,  trustee  and  father- 
in-law  of  the  Rt.  Hon.  James  Stanhope,  who  was  created  Viscount  Stan- 
hope in  this  very  year.  This  James  Stanhope  was  the  grandson  of  the 
second  Earl  of  Chesterfield,  and  therefore  cousin  of  the  fourth  and  great 
Earl.  Now  this  second  Earl  lived,  and  died  in  Bloomsbury  Square, 
in  171 3,  but  it  is  not  improbable  that  at  one  period  of  his  career  he  may 
have  had  lodgings  assigned  to  him  in  Whitehall  (for  he  was  well  known 
as  a  devoted  royalist),  and  that  these  apartments  adjoined  those  of  the 
Duke  of  Albemarle,  and  were  once  known  collectively  as  Stanhope 
House,  and  further,  that  the  lease  granted  on  behalf  of  his  grandson 
was  an  extension  of  an  original  grant.  This  is,  I  confess,  mere  con- 
jecture, but  the  place  could  hardly  have  been  known,  in  1672,  as  Stanhope 
House  unless  it  had  had  some  connection  with  the  Stanhope  famUy. 

The  1717  lease  was  for  thirty-one  years,  and  having  been  obtained, 
Mr.  Pitt  expended  a  considerable  sum  of  money  in  improving  the  pro- 
perty, and  a  further  lease  of  ground  in  St.  James's  Park,  apparently  just 
beyond  the  old  Cockpit,  was  obtained  at  the  same  time. 

*  Quoted  in  London  Past  and  Present. 


158     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Lord  Stanhope  did  not  enjoy  possession  of  the  property  for  long, 
for,  in  1 72 1,  he  died,  his  wife  only  surviving  him  two  years,  when  the 
place  was  sold  to  Lionel  Cranfield,  who  succeeded  his  father  as  the  seventh 
Earl  of  Dorset  in  1707,  and  was  created  a  Duke  thirteen  years  later.  The 
Duke,  who  figures  largely  in  the  political  and  social  annals  of  the  early 
Georges,  was,  according  to  Mrs.  Delany,  "  very  graceful  and  princely," 
while  Lord  Shelburne  calls  him  "  in  all  respects  a  perfect  English  courtier." 
From  him  Stanhope  House  took  its  later  name  of  Dorset  House. 

Shortly  after  coming  into  possession,  the  Duke  applied  for  a  fresh 
lease,  to  embrace  not  only  the  portion  he  had  become  possessed  of,  but 
also  certain  lodgings  occupied  by  the  Archbishop  of  Canterbury  and 
the  Bishop  of  London,  which  were  part  and  parcel  of  this  property, 
being,  I  assume,  portions  of  the  Duke  of  Albemarle's  lodgings,  which, 
by  Vertue's  plan,  are  shown  as  extending  over  a  large  area — indeed  from 
the  north  of  the  Cockpit  to  Downing  Street.  This  application  was 
followed  by  the  granting  of  a  new  fifty-years'  lease  (the  old  one  being 
surrendered)  of  the  whole  property,  including  these  ecclesiastical  apart- 
ments ;  the  Duke,  at  the  same  time,  agreeing  to  permit  the  Archbishop 
and  Bishop  to  remain  in  possession  till  they  had  been  otherwise  accom- 
modated. Nearly  twenty  years  later  another  fifty-years'  lease  was 
obtained  by  the  Duke,  probably  in  consequence,  as  was  generally  the  case, 
of  his  having  either  rebuilt  the  place,  or  added  to  and  repaired  it. 

In  1763,  the  Duke  died,  when  the  lease  became  the  property  of  his 
well-known  third  son,  Lord  George  Sackville,  afterwards  Lord  George 
Germain  and  Viscount  Sackville  (1782),  who  had  been  born  in  1716, 
in  his  father's  then  residence  in  the  Haymarket.  Lord  George  applied, 
in  1772,  for  a  fresh  lease,  which  was  granted  for  a  term  of  seventeen  years 
from  1805,  the  date  of  the  expiration  of  the  existing  one.  Lord  Sackville, 
however,  died  on  August  26th,  1785,  when  the  lease  of  Dorset  House  was 
transferred  to  his  nephew,  John  Frederick,  who  had  succeeded  as  third 
Duke  of  Dorset  in  1769.  At  his  death  in  1799,  his  widow  (Arabella, 
daughter  of  Sir  Charles  Cope,  Bart.),  continued  to  reside  here,  and  in 
1803  she  applied  for  a  fresh  lease  in  favour  of  herself  and  her  second 
husband,  Charles,  Lord  Whitworth,  whom  she  had  married  in  1801. 

The  name  of  Lord  Whitworth  was  well  known  in  the  diplomatic 
world  at  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century.  Envoy  Extraordinary 
to  Copenhagen  in  1800,  he  was  also  Ambassador  to  Paris  from  1801  to 
1803,  during  which  time  occurred  that  incident,  at  one  of  the  official 
receptions,  when  Bonaparte's  celebrated  rudeness  to  the  envoy  precipi- 
tated, as  it  was  meant  to  do,  war  between  this  country  and  France. 
Wraxall  speaks  of  Whitworth  as  being  "  highly  favoured  by  nature,"  and 


ROCHESTER   HOUSE  159 

affirms  that  "  his  address  even  exceeded  his  figure."  Sir  Thomas 
Lawrence  painted  a  well-known  portrait  of  him,  and  in  his  earlier  days, 
Horace  Walpole  had  issued  from  the  Strawberry  Hill  Press  his  Account 
of  Russia. 

Soon  after  applying  for  a  new  lease  of  Dorset  House  the  Duchess 
of  Dorset  offered  to  sell  her  interest  in  the  property  to  the  Crown,  but 
the  Crown  not  only  did  not  wish  to  buy,  but  also  refused  to  grant  a 
new  lease.  In  1808,  however,  an  arrangement  was  come  to  by  which 
the  Government  did  purchase  the  remainder  of  the  Duchess's  interest, 
and  two  years  later  the  buildings  were  adapted  for  the  use  of  the 
Treasury,  which  thereupon  proceeded  to  occupy  them,  and  thus  put  the 
final  touch  to  the  process  by  which  Stanhope,  or  Dorset  House,  as  a 
private  residence,  ceased  to  exist. 

ROCHESTER   HOUSE 

The  two  mansions  about  which  there  remains  something  to  say,  are 
Rochester,  or  as  it  was  sometimes  called.  Clarendon  House,  and  WaUing- 
ford  House.  The  former  takes  its  name  from  Lawrence  Hyde,  Earl  of 
Rochester,  the  second  son  of  the  great  Earl  of  Clarendon,  who  was  created 
an  Earl  in  1682,  and  who  filled  a  number  of  high  offices  under  four 
sovereigns,  being  Ambassador  and  first  Lord  of  the  Treasury  under 
Charles  H.,  Lord  High  Treasurer  under  James ;  Lord  Lieutenant  of 
Ireland  under  William  III.,  and  Lord  President  of  the  Council  under 
Anne.  He  was  thus  a  person  of  vast  importance  in  his  day ;  and  when 
Burnet  remarks  that  "  he  was  thought  the  smoothest  man  in  the  court," 
we  can  well  understand  that,  to  have  served  successfully  so  many  variously- 
minded  rulers,  he  certainly  must  have  been. 

He  was  living  in  the  house  I  am  now  speaking  of,  somewhere  between 
1679  ^'^'^  1686,  probably  in  the  former  year,  when  he  became  first  Lord 
of  the  Treasury.  By  Vertue's  plan  the  site  of  the  house  is  shown  as 
occupied  by  lodgings  appertaining  to  one  Captain  Cooke ;  ^  at  least  so  it 
is  assumed,  as  the  exact  position  of  Rochester  House  appears  never  to 
have  been  quite  satisfactorily  identified.  In  1686,  says  Canon  Sheppard, 
Lord  Rochester  "  directed  the  Surveyor-General  to  view  the  house  near 
the  Privy  Garden,  where  he  lived,  and  to  make  a  Constat  "  {i.e.  to  draw  up 
particulars  for  a  lease)  "  in  order  to  the  passing  to  him  of  a  lease  of  such 

'  This  was  the  Captain  Cooke  mentioned  by  Evelyn  as  being  considered  "ye  best  singer 
after  ye  Italian  manner  of  any  in  England,"  and  to  whom  Pepys  has  so  many  references.  It 
was  he  who,  after  serving  in  the  royal  army,  was  made,  at  the  Restoration,  Master  of  the 
Children  of  the  Chapel  Royal.     He  was  a  fine  musician,  and  died  in  1672. 


i6o    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

part  thereof  as  was  not  in  the  lease,  already  for  thirty-one  years  .  .  .  for 
such  a  term  of  reversion  as  might  make  up  the  present  term  to  be  thirty- 
one  years."  This  was  presently  done,  and  by  its  terms,  which  I  need  not 
recapitulate  here,  it  would  appear  that  there  were  two  separate  houses 
on  the  property  in  question,  one  being  on  the  site  of  Captain  Cooke's 
premises,  and  the  other  adjoining  them  and  abutting  on  the  King  Street 
Gateway,  which  would  be  nearly  at  the  north-east  corner  of  Downing 
Street,  together  with  certain  buildings  on  the  other  side  of  the  road  at 
the  south-west  angle  of  the  Privy  Garden. 

On  Lord  Rochester's  death,  his  son  Henry,  who  succeeded  him  as 
second  Earl,  applied  for  a  fresh  lease  of  fifty  years,  in  order  that  it  might 
be  worth  his  while  to  repair  and  otherwise  spend  money  on  the  property, 
which  was  stated  to  be  badly  in  need  of  it.  This  request  appears  to 
have  been  acceded  to,  but  whether  wholly  or  only  in  a  modified  form, 
is  not  clear.  However  the  matter,  as  it  affects  us  here,  is  not  of  great 
importance,  because  some  dozen  years  later  the  Crown  appears  to  have 
resumed  possession  of  the  property,  one  of  the  reasons  given  for  its  doing 
so  being  the  desire  to  demolish  the  King  Street  Gate,  which,  according 
to  Pennant,  was  taken  down  in  1723,  as  was  the  Holbein  Gate  thirty-six 
years  later. 

In  1725,  on  the  application  of  Horatio  Walpole,  Auditor  and  Surveyor- 
General  of  His  Majesty's  Revenues,  who  required  an  office  at  this  time, 
a  portion  of  Rochester  House  was  granted  to  him ;  and  some  years  later 
(1738)  he  obtained  a  lease  of  an  ale-house  and  three  other  houses  at  the 
corner  of  Downing  Street,  specifically  to  enlarge  his  premises,  which 
however,  he  does  not  appear,  after  all,  to  have  done.  A  succession  of 
leases  was  subsequently  granted  to  the  Walpoles,  but  the  last  one  (for 
a  reversionary  term  of  nineteen  years  from  1 8 14)  was  purchased  by  the 
Crown,  the  old  buildings  taken  down,  and  Government  offices  eventually 
erected  on  their  site. 

Indeed,  as  will  be  seen,  the  details  as  to  Rochester  House  are  some- 
what vague,  and  at  best  technical ;  but  it  seemed  to  require  a  word  on 
account  of  the  one  illustrious  person,  Hyde,  Earl  of  Rochester,  whose 
residence  for  a  time  it  was.  Little  Wallingford  and  Pickering  Houses 
are  in  much  the  same  case,  and  as  they  were  smaller  and  had  no  central 
figure  of  interest  about  them,  although  they  were  connected  at  various 
times  with  the  Hay  and  Glyn  families,  I  need  say  nothing  here  regarding 
their  history,  especially  as  that  will  be  found  given  as  fuUy  as  documentary 
evidence  allows,  in  Canon  Sheppard's  work. 


WALLINGFORD  HOUSE  i6i 


WALLINGFORD    HOUSE 

Of  the  last  of  the  more  important  Whitehall  mansions,  Wallingford 
House,  or,  as  it  was  also  once  called,  Peterborough  House,  which  has  for  so 
many  years  been  identified  with  the  Admiralty,  the  interest  is,  however, 
of  a  much  more  striking  kind.  It  is  connected  with  a  number  of  im- 
portant historical  figures  from  the  reign  of  James  I.  to  that  of  Charles  H. 
Here  lived  the  brilliant  Buckingham,  and  later  the  Republican  Fleet- 
wood ;  here  also  Lady  Peterborough  kept  up  her  state,  and  here  for  a 
short  time  the  profligate  second  Duke  of  Buckingham  may  have  passed 
some  restless  hours  of  his  feverish  existence.  But,  notwithstanding 
these  private  owners,  the  place  seems  always  to  have  had  a  semi-official 
air  about  it,  which  made  its  transformation  into  a  Government  office 
not  so  startling  an  innovation  as  is  the  case  with  some  other  of  the  great 
houses  in  Whitehall. 

WaUingford  House  was  erected  in  the  reign  of  James  I.  by  Sir  William 
KnoUys.  Sir  William  was  Treasurer  of  the  Household  to  Queen  Eliza- 
beth, and  very  nearly  occupied  a  still  more  exalted  position,  for  the 
Queen  had  named  him,  according  to  Miss  Strickland,  Lord  Deputy  in 
Ireland  ;  and  it  was  on  this  occasion  that  Lord  Essex  boldly  opposed  his 
nomination,  which  led  to  the  famous  scene  when  Elizabeth  boxed 
Essex's  ears,  and  he  laid  his  hand  on  his  sword  and  half  turned  his  back 
on  his  royal  mistress,  who  thereupon  told  him  to  "  go  and  be  hanged."  ^ 

After  the  Queen's  death.  Sir  William  became  Treasurer  to  James  I., 
and  was  subsequently  created  Baron  Knollys  (1603),  Viscount  Wallingford 
(1616),  and  Earl  of  Banbury  (1626).  He  seems  to  have  taken  the  second 
title  on  account  of  his  having  been  Constable  of  Wallingford  Castle  and 
High  Steward  of  the  Manor  of  Wallingford,  in  1601,  and  as  he  gave  this 
name  to  his  London  house,  it  practically  proves  that  the  mansion  was 
erected  between  1616  and  1621-22,  when  the  Duke  of  Buckingham  bought 
it,  although,  as  Lord  Wallingford's  father.  Sir  Francis  KnoUys,"  is  said  to 
have  occupied  an  official  residence  here,  before  him,  it  is  not  improbable 
that  he  merely  rebuilt  or  enlarged  a  former  mansion  here.  Under  what 
circumstances  George  ViUiers,  Duke  of  Buckingham,  purchased  Walling- 
ford House  is  not  quite  clear.  Lord  Wallingford  did  not  die  till  1632, 
but  if  John  Chamberlain,  a  correspondent  of  Sir  Dudley  Carleton's,  is 
correct,  the  purchase  was  arranged  partly  on  a  money  basis,  and  partly 

'  Camden. 

'  He  was  only  son  of  Robert  Knollys,  of  Rotherfield  Greys,  Oxon.,  and  was  related  to 
Queen  Elizabeth,  having  married  Catherine,  daughter  of  William  Carey  by  the  Lady  Mary 
Boleyn,  sister  of  Anne  Boleyn,  Elizabeth's  mother. 

L 


i62     THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

"  by  making  Sir  Thomas  Howard  Baron  of  Charlton  and  Viscount 
Andover ;  and  some  think  the  reUeving  of  the  Lord  of  Somerset  and 
his  lady  out  of  the  Tower."  ^  This  latter  extraordinary  and  unsavoury 
circumstance  wove  itself,  at  that  time,  into  so  many  public  and  domestic 
matters  that  it  is  not  at  all  improbable  that  its  vitiating  influence  even 
affected  the  changing  of  the  owners  of  Wallingford  House.  In  any 
case,  it  is  a  curious  fact  that,  in  1615,  orders  were  given  to  Somerset 
"  to  keep  his  chamber  near  the  Cockpit,"  and  to  his  Countess  "  to  keep 
her  chamber  at  the  Blackfriars,  or  at  Lord  Knolly's  house  near  the 
Tiltyard." 

In  the  year  after  the  Duke  of  Buckingham  had  taken  possession,  his 
first  child,  called  "  Jacobina  "  after  the  King,  was  born  here  in  March, 
and  a  contemporary  records  that  "  during  the  illness  of  the  Marchioness,^ 
the  King  prayed  heartily  for  her,  and  was  at  Wallingford  House  early 
and  late." 

It  would  appear  that  at  first  Buckingham  fixed  his  private  residence 
at  Wallingford  House ;  but  when,  on  the  fall  of  Bacon,  York  House  be- 
came vacant,  and  the  Duke  subsequently  obtained  it  *  for  himself,  the 
greater  splendour  of  the  latter  mansion  caused  him  to  give  his  great  and 
costly  entertainments  there,  although  he  seems  to  have  still  resided  at 
Wallingford  House,  as  is  proved  by  the  fact  that  his  son,  the  second  Duke, 
was  born  there  so  much  later  as  1627  ;  and  also  that  he  used  it  as  his 
official  residence,  as  Bassompierre's  references  to  it,  when  he  was  over  here 
in  the  previous  year  as  French  Ambassador,  indicate. 

Bassompierre,  who  never  could  master  the  intricacies  of  the  English 
language,  spells  Wallingford  variously  as  Valinfort  and  Vialenforaux,  and 
records  visiting  the  Duke  here  on  October  30,  1626,  and  again  on 
November  20th  of  the  same  year.  In  view  of  Buckingham's  possession 
of  these  two  mansions,  it  is  strange  to  find  Howell,  the  letter-writer,  ad- 
vising him  about  this  time  to  have  a  fixed  residence ;  but  perhaps  it  was 
the  Duke's  constant  change  from  one  house  to  the  other,  that  eHcited 
this  excellent  advice.  It  must,  I  think,  have  been  in  the  gardens  of 
Wallingford  House  that  the  following  circumstance  took  place  which  has 
been  recorded  by  most  of  the  biographers  of  Charles  I.  and  of  the  Duke. 
It  is  said  that  the  King  was  at  Spring  Gardens,  which  might  easily 
mean  the  favourite's  residence  close  by,  watching  a  game  of  bowls,  when 
Buckingham  remained,  unhke  the  rest  of  the  courtiers,   covered.     Ob- 

'  CiiUitdar  of  State  Papers,  1603-1610.  See  an  interesting  note  by  Croker,  in  his  edition 
of  Bassompierre's  Embassy  to  England,  p.  70. 

•^  Villiers  had  been  created  Marquis  of  Buckingham  in  1619,  and  was  advanced  to  the 
dukedom  in  1623. 

^  See  chapter  ii.,  where  the  connection  of  Buckingham  with  York  House  is  dealt  with. 


WALLINGFORD   HOUSE  163 

serving  this  want  of  respect,  a  Scotchman  who  was  present  suddenly- 
knocked  off  the  Duke's  hat,  exclaiming,  "  Off  with  your  hat  before  the 
King."  Buckingham  immediately  kicked  the  officious  gentleman,  where- 
upon Charles  interposed  with,  "  Let  him  alone,  George,  he  is  either  mad 
or  a  fool."  "  No,  sir,"  replied  the  man,  "  I  am  a  sober  man  ;  and  if  your 
Majesty  would  give  me  leave,  I  will  tell  you  that  of  this  man  which  many 
know  and  none  dare  speak."  ^ 

On  the  assassination  of  Buckingham,  in  1628,  his  body  was  brought 
from  Portsmouth  to  Wallingford  House,  and  here  lay  in  state  before  its 
interment.  At  this  date,  as  the  second  Duke  was  but  an  infant,  the 
Board  of  Admiralty — which  Buckingham  had  instituted  when  he  was  Lord 
High  Admiral,  and  whose  sittings  were  in  his  lifetime  held  here— was 
continued  at  Wallingford  House  after  his  death  ;  and  it  appears  that 
the  Lord  Treasurer's  Office  was  also  domiciled  here,  as  warrants  signed 
Weston,  Cottington,  and  Portland,"  are  extant  bearing  dates  of  1632 
and  1634,  ^^'^  given  at  Wallingford  House. 

In  the  following  year,  the  Dowager  Duchess  (she  was  daughter  of 
the  sixth  Earl  of  Rutland)  was  married  here  to  Lord  Dunluce,  an  event 
thus  mentioned  by  Garrard  in  a  letter  to  Wentworth  :  ^  "  April  14,  1635. 
The  Duchess  of  Buckingham  was  married  about  a  week  since  to  the  Lord 
Dunluce,  and  are  (sic)  to  live  at  Wallingford  House,  whence  the  Treasurer's 
family  removes."  How  long  the  Duchess  and  her  husband  resided  here 
is  uncertain,  but  in  the  year  in  which  Charles  L  was  beheaded,  the 
house  was  in  the  occupation  of  the  second  Earl  of  Peterborough  and  his 
Countess,  daughter  of  the  Earl  of  Thomond,  and  it  was  from  its  roof 
that  Archbishop  Usher  saw  Charles  led  to  execution.  The  sight  proved 
too  much  for  the  old  (he  was  then  sixty-nine)  royalist  who  had  lost  nearly 
all  his  property  in  Ireland  through  his  devotion  to  the  King ;  and  as, 
from  the  distance,  he  saw  his  master  standing  on  the  scaffold,  his  forti- 
tude entirely  forsook  him,  and  sinking  down  with  horror,  he  was  carried 
fainting  to  his  rooms. 

Under  the  Commonwealth,  the  General  Council  of  the  officers  of 
the  army,  known  as  the  "  Wallingford  House  Party,"  assembled  here 
after  the  Protector's  death,  with  the  intention  of  preventing  Monk's 
attempt  to  bring  about  the  Restoration.  Vane  and  Fleetwood  were 
leaders  in  this  movement,  and  as  the  latter  was  at  that  time  residing  here, 
it  seems  fairly  obvious  that  the  meeting  was  organised  by  him.     The 

'  The  story  is  also  given  in  the  Curiosities  of  Literature^  and  by  Jesse  in  his  Memoirs  of 
the  Court  of  England  utnter  tlie  Stuarts. 

'  Weston,  afterwards  Lord  Portland,  was  Lord  Treasurer,  and  Cottington  Under  Treasurer, 
at  this  period. 

'  See  the  Strafford  Papers,  vol.  i.  p.  413. 


1 64     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

details  of  this  fruitless  conspiracy  are  given  at  length  in  Ludlow's  interest- 
ing Memoirs} 

At  the  Restoration,  WaUingford  House  reverted  to  the  second  Duke 
of  Buckingham,  but  although  he  used  it  as  a  private  residence,  it  also 
continued  in  its  official  capacity  as  the  headquarters  of  the  Admiralty 
Board,  and  as  the  office  of  the  Lord  Treasurer. 

It  was  here,  too,  that  in  1670  the  Duke  inaugurated  that  famous 
(or  infamous)  "  Cabal  Ministry,"  whose  meetings,  however,  he  was  too 
wise  to  allow  to  take  place  in  a  spot  so  exposed  to  public  observation, 
and  consequently  they  were  held  in  the  solitude  of  Ham  House  instead. 
Hence,  too,  in  the  same  and  the  two  following  years  he  started  on  those 
extraordinary  embassies  to  the  Continent  in  which  he  was  the  principal 
and  splendid  figure. 

This  man,  "  so  various  that  he  seemed  to  be,  not  one  but  all  mankind's 
epitome,"  as  Dryden  sings,  found  time  in  the  midst  of  political  and 
diplomatic  duties  to  write  The  Rehearsal,  produced  in  1670  ;  just  as  he 
had  a  few  years  previously  personally  superintended  all  the  details  con- 
nected with  the  lying  in  state  here  of  the  body  of  Cowley,  the  poet, 
who  had  been  his  intimate  friend  and  college  companion,  and  who  died 
while  staying  at  WalHngford  House.  Evelyn  thus  records  the  circum- 
stances of  the  poet's  obsequies,  under  date  of  August  3,  1667  :  "  Went 
to  Mr.  Cowley's  funerall,  whose  corps  lay  at  WaUingford  House,  and 
was  thence  conveyed  to  Westminster  Abbey  in  a  hearse  with  six  horses 
and  all  funerall  decency,  neare  an  hundred  coaches  of  noblemen  and 
persons  of  qualitie  following  ;  among  these  all  the  witts  of  the  towne, 
divers  bishops  and  clergymen." 

Lord  Clifford  of  Chudleigh,  who  was  Lord  Treasurer,  and  was  created 
a  peer  in  1672,  and  died  in  the  September  of  the  following  year,  was  one 
of  those  officially  connected  with  WaUingford  House,  and  in  the  Calendar 
of  State  Papers  are  various  letters  emanating  from  the  Lord  Treasurer's 
office,  and  dated  from  here,  notably  one  from  Clifford  himself  on 
April  29,  1673,  and  others  in  1674  ^^^  'i^SjS. 

Clifford's  tragic  end  is  well  known,  and  the  foUowing  reference  to 
Evelyn's  last  interview  with  him  at  WaUingford  House  has  therefore  a 
pathetic  interest.  Writes  the  diarist,  on  August  18,  1672  :  "  I  went  to 
take  leave  of  him  at  WaUingford  House.  He  was  packing  up  pictures, 
most  of  which  were  of  hunting  wild  beasts,  and  vaste  pieces  of  buU-baiting, 
beare-baiting,  &c.  I  found  him  in  his  study,  and  restored  to  him  several 
papers  of  state  and  others  of  importance,  which  he  had  furnished  me 
with,  on  engaging   me   to  write   the   Historic   of  the  HoUand  War,  with 

'  See  vol.  ii.  p.  168  cl  scq.  of  the  1751  edition. 


WALLINGFORD   HOUSE  165 

other  private  letters  of  his  aclcnowledgments  to  my  Lord  ArHngton, 
who  from  a  private  gentleman  of  a  very  noble  family,  but  inconsiderable 
fortune,  had  advanced  him  from  almost  nothing.  .  .  .  Taking  leave  of 
my  Lord  Clifford,  he  wrung  me  by  the  hand,  and  looking  earnestly  on 
me,  bid  me  good-bye,  adding,  '  Mr.  E.,  I  shall  never  see  you  more.' 
'  No  !  '  said  I ;  '  my  lord,  what's  the  meaning  of  this  ?  I  hope  I  shall 
see  you  often  and  as  greate  a  person  againe.'  '  No,  Mr.  E.,  do  not  expect 
it ;  I  will  never  see  this  place,  this  City  or  Courte  againe,'  or  words  of 
this  sound.  In  this  manner,  not  without  almost  mutual  tears,  I  parted 
from  him  ;  nor  was  it  long  after,  but  newes  was  that  he  was  dead,  and  I 
have  heard  from  some  who  I  believe  knew,  he  made  himself  away,  after  an 
extraordinary  melancholy." 

In  1680  Wallingford  House  was  purchased  by  the  Crown  and  converted 
into  the  office  of  the  Admiralty,  and  fifteen  years  later  a  grant  was  made  of 
a  portion  of  Spring  Gardens  for  use  in  conjunction  with  it.  The  old  house 
was  puUed  down  in  1720,  and  five  years  later  the  present  buildings  were 
erected  from  designs  by  that  Thomas  Ripley  who,  as  Walpole  says,  "  wanted 
taste  and  fell  under  the  lash  of  lasting  satire  "  ;  the  satire  being  that  of 
Pope,  who,  in  the  "  Dunciad,"  not  only  satirically  exclaims : 

"  See  under  Ripley  rise  a  new  Whitehall," 

but  also  writes  : 

"  Who  builds  a  bridge,  that  never  drove  a  pile  ? 
Should  Ripley  venture  all  the  world  would  smile." 

But  Walpole  seems  to  infer  that  this  reference  was  due  to  the  fact  that 
Ripley  was  not  countenanced  by  Lord  Burlington,  Pope's  patron,  and 
he  adds  that  although  the  Admiralty  is  an  ugly  building,  yet,  in  the 
disposition  of  apartments  and  conveniences,  it  was  superior  to  the  Earl 
himself.^ 

As  may  be  seen  from  Bowles's  view  of  it,  published  in  1731,  the  wings 
dwarf  the  central  portion  ;  and  an  ugly  wall  ran  along  the  Whitehall 
front.  However,  De  Saussure,  who  saw  it  just  after  its  completion,  in 
December  1725,  speaks  of  it  as  "  a  fine  building,"  and  he  adds  :  "  The 
chief,  or  president,  of  the  Admiralty  resides  here  ;  the  noblemen  who 
compose  its  board  assemble  in  its  walls  ;  and  you  can  generally  see  many 
well-known  sea  captains  and  men  on  business  intent." ' 

'  I.e.  superior  as  to  interior  arrangements  to  those  mansions,  such  as  Burlington  House, 
Marshal  Wade's  house,  &c.,  which  the  Earl  had  designed.     Anecdotes  of  Painting. 
*  A  Foreign  View  of  England. 


1 66     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

When  the  novelty  of  the  new  building  had  somewhat  worn  off,  the 
unsightliness  of  the  wall  before  mentioned  roused  an  outcry  of  artistic 
indignation,  and  in  1760  Robert  Adam  was  commissioned  to  build  the 
screen  which  at  present  divides  the  structure  from  the  street,  and  which 
Horace  Walpole  considered  handsome,  and  later  authorities  have  regarded 
as  one  of  the  most  successful  of  its  architect's  designs. 

In  1733  Admiral  Byng,  Viscount  Torrington,  died  in  apartments 
that  had  been  allotted  to  him  here  ;  and  in  1805  the  body  of  Lord  Nelson 
lay  in  state  here  before  being  taken  to  St.  Paul's. 

There  are  some  good  Grinling  Gibbons  carvings  and  some  interesting 
portraits  in  the  Board  Room,  and  the  long  connection  of  the  Admiralty 
with  this  spot  is  well  sustained  ;  but  of  the  once  famous  residence  of 
the  brilliant  Buckingham  only  a  small  court,  called  after  his  name, 
and  running  by  the  side  of  the  present  building,  helps  to  preserve  the 
memory. 


ASHBURNHAM   HOUSE,   WESTMINSTER 

In  the  last  chapter,  when  speaking  of  Ashburnham  House,  Dover 
Street,  I  mentioned  a  mansion  of  the  same  name  in  Westminster  about 
which  I  want  to  say  something  more  fully  ;  and  I  do  so  here,  as,  although 
it  did  not  stand  actually  in  Whitehall,  its  position  was  so  close  to  that 
historic  spot,  that  its  inclusion  in  this  chapter  seems  appropriate. 
Ashburnham  House  in  Little  Deans  Yard,  was  probably  erected  between 
1650  and  1660,  by  John  Webb,  who  appears  to  have  completed  the  de- 
signs of  the  residence  already  prepared  by  his  father-in-law  and  master, 
Inigo  Jones.  As  in  the  case  of  the  building  of  Castle  Ashby,  also  de- 
signed by  Inigo  Jones,  the  erection  of  Ashburnham  House  seems  to  have 
been  interrupted  by  the  outbreak  of  the  Civil  War  ;  and  had  these 
troubles  not  occurred,  and  Inigo  Jones  had  lived  to  superintend  the  building 
of  the  mansion,  those  variations  made  by  Webb,  by  which  Jones's 
distinctive  note  was  to  some  degree  lost,  would  not  have  been  present. 
In  any  case,  the  magnificent  staircase  designed  by  the  greater  architect, 
with  its  noble  cupola  and  consummate  proportions,  as  well  as  the 
splendid  over-doors  and  other  details,  were  all  carefully  preserved  by 
Webb,  whose  plaster  decorations  in  the  cornices  and  elsewhere  were 
probably  as  fine  as  anything  his  master  would  have  produced  in  the  same 
genre.  The  mansion  appears  to  have  been  erected  for  William  Ashburn- 
ham, the  younger  brother  of  that  '  Jack  '  Ashburnham  famous  for  his 
devotion  to  Charles  I.,  and  the  companion  of  that  monarch's  flight  to  the 


ASHBURNHAM   HOUSE,   WESTMINSTER     167 

Scotch  army  and  his  subsequent  escape  from  Hampton  Court  to  the  Isle 
of  Wight.  William  was  also  an  officer  of  distinction  in  the  Royal  army 
during  the  civil  war,  and  was  rewarded  for  his  loyalty,  on  the  Restoration, 
by  being  made  cofferer  of  the  King's  Household.  He  married  about  1629, 
a  near  relative,  Jane,  daughter  of  John,  Lord  Butler  of  Woodhall,  who  is 
described  as  the  "  young,  beautiful,  and  rich  widow  "  of  James  Ley,  Earl 
of  Marlborough,  of  whom  she  was  the  third  wife.  William  Ashburnham 
died  in  1679,  ^^^  ^^^^  having  predeceased  him  in  1672. 

I  have  seen  it  stated  that  Ashburnham  House  was  erected  for  '  Jack  ' 
Ashburnham,^  but  no  authority  is  given  for  this,  and  I  am  led  to  believe  that, 
as  I  have  stated,  William  was  its  builder,  from  a  passage  in  Pepys's  Diary. 
It  is  known  that  the  ground  on  which  the  mansion  was  built  belonged  to 
the  Dean  and  Chapter  of  Westminster,  a  lease  from  which  body  had  first 
to  be  obtained  ;  now,  on  May  3,  1667,  the  diarist  was  in  the  company 
of  Sir  Stephen  Fox  and  William  Ashburnham,  then  cofferer  to  the  House- 
hold, and  drove  with  them  to  Westminster,  on  which  occasion  Pepys 
notes  how  "  the  Cofferer  "  told  "  us  odd  stories  how  he  was  dealt  with  by 
the  men  of  the  Church  at  Westminster  in  taking  a  lease  of  them  at  the 
King's  coming  in  (viz.,  the  Restoration),  and  particularly  the  devilish 
coveteousness  of  Dr.  Busby  "  (the  famous  head-master  of  Westminster, 
and  in  1660  a  Prebendary  of  Westminster).  It  may  be  objected  that 
in  this,  William  Ashburnham  was  his  brother's  agent,  but  I  am  more 
inclined  to  think  that  he  was  acting  for  himself. 

In  any  case  the  property  passed  to  John  Ashburnham,  the  grand- 
nephew  of  William  who  had  no  children,  who  was  created  Lord  Ash- 
burnham in  1689,  and  died  in  17 10,  when  he  was  succeeded  in  the  title 
(and  the  occupancy  of  the  house)  by  his  son,  the  second  Baron,  who  died 
six  months  after  his  father.  The  third  Baron,  afterwards  (1730)  created 
first  Earl,  a  brother  of  the  second,  upon  whom  thereupon  devolved  the 
family  estates,  made  arrangements  to  sell  the  mansion,^  an  advertise- 
ment to  that  effect  appearing  in  the  London  Gazette  of  January  1729  (new 
style) ;  and  in  the  following  year  the  lease  was  purchased  by  the  Crown 
for  the  specific  purpose  of  housing  the  Royal  Libraries,  including  the 
celebrated  Cotton  Manuscripts  which  had  been  purchased  for  the  nation 
some  twenty  years  earlier,  and  had  been  preserved  hitherto  in  a  house  in 
Essex  Street.  In  the  following  year,  however,  on  Saturday,  October  23,  a 
disastrous   fire   occurred  here,  and   destroyed   no   less   than    114   of    the 

'  Britton  and  Pugin  thought  so,  as  do  others  ;  but  they  all  have  to  confess  the  difficulty 
of  tracing  records  which  appear  to  have  been  irrevocably  lost. 

-  Peter  Wentworth,  writing  in  this  year,  says  :  "  Lord  Barkley  told  me  Lord  Ashburnham's 
house  is  to  be  sold  a  great  penny  in  Dean's  Yard." 


1 68     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

948  volumes  of  which  this  portion  of  the  collection  consisted,  besides 
badly  damaging  98  others. "• 

The  fire  broke  out  at  two  o'clock  in  the  morning,  in  a  room  immedi- 
ately beneath  that  in  which  the  precious  manuscripts  were  stored. 
Dr.  Bentley,  the  King's  Librarian  was  at  the  time  in  residence,  and 
Dr.  Freind,  the  then  head-master  of  Westminster,  narrates  that  he  saw 
the  worthy  doctor,  arrayed  only  in  his  dressing-gown  and  a  wig,  rush 
from  the  burning  house,  with  the  famous  Alexandrian  MSS.,  the  Codex 
Alexandrinus,  in  four  quarto  volumes,  under  his  arms  ;  although  Walcott 
affirms  that  they  were  carried  out  of  harm's  way  by  Mr.  Casley,  the  Deputy 
Librarian.  When  it  is  remembered  that  these  precious  manuscripts,  finely 
written  on  vellum  probably  about  the  year  300  to  500  a.d.,  are  supposed 
to  be  the  most  ancient  MS.  of  the  Greek  Bible  in  uncial  character  extant, 
the  anxiety  of  their  custodian,  whoever  he  was,  for  their  preservation  can 
be  readily  understood.  The  remainder  of  the  books  was  only  partially 
saved,  some  being  removed  in  their  presses  bodily,  others  being  thrown 
from  the  windows,  and  all  being  more  or  less  damaged  by  water  which  was 
freely  played  upon  them. 

In  1739  part  of  what  remained  of  Ashburnham  House  was  demolished 
for  the  purpose  of  erecting  two  prebendal  residences,  and  the  west  wing, 
now  also  used  as  a  prebendal  house,  was  alone  preserved.  This,  in  its 
turn,  was  threatened  with  destruction  so  recently  as  1 881,  but  happily 
this  iconoclastic  step  was  frustrated.  The  importance  of  this  preservation 
will  be  recognised  when  it  is  known  that  the  existing  portion  contains 
the  famous  staircase  designed  by  Inigo  Jones,  as  well  as  a  very  fine 
drawing-room,  and  the  dining-room  with  its  alcove,  formerly  used  as  a 
state  bedroom.  The  staircase  is  thus  specifically  described  by  Britton 
and  Pugin  :  "  Of  nearly  a  square  shape,  with  four  ranges  of  steps  placed 
at  right  angles  one  with  the  other,  and  as  many  landings,  it  was  the 
passage  from  the  ground  to  the  first  floor.  Its  sides  are  panelled  against 
the  wall,  and  guarded  by  a  rising  balustrade.  The  whole  is  crowned  by 
an  oval  dome  springing  from  a  bold  and  enriched  entablature  supported 
by  a  series  of  twelve  columns.  At  the  landing  are  fluted  Ionic  columns."  ^ 
Indeed  Sir  John  Soane  thought  so  highly  of  the  design  and  propor- 
tions of  this  fine  piece  of  work  that  he  caused  careful  drawings  to  be 
made  of  it,  with  which  he  illustrated  one  of  the  lectures  he  delivered 
before  the  Royal  Academy. 

The  position  of  Ashburnham  House  was  on  that  part  of  the  Bene- 
dictine  Abbey  of  Westminster,  called  the  Misericorde,  while   its  garden 

'  London  Past  and  Present. 

'  Public  Edifices  of  London,  vol.  ii.  p.  90. 


ASHBURNHAM   HOUSE,   WESTMINSTER      169 

looked  on  to  the  Refectory.  In  the  cellars  were  some  remains  of  the  old 
conventual  buildings,  and  a  capital  of  the  time  of  Edward  III.  was  actually 
built  into  the  modern  foundations.'  In  the  garden  was  a  small  alcove,  the 
design  of  which  was  attributed  to  Inigo  Jones,  although  Brettingham,  in 
his  book  on  Architecture,  claims  it  as  his  own  just  as  he  did  Kent's  design 
for  Holkham.  There  are  extant  a  number  of  views  of  this  once  fine 
mansion — in  Ware's,  and  Batty  Langley's  works  (the  latter  of  whom  first, 
in  1737,  attributed  it  to  Webb  as  against  the  general  supposition  that  it 
was  wholly  the  work  of  Inigo  Jones);  in  Smith's  Westminster,  and  Britton 
and  Pugin's  Public  Edifices,  while  the  Society  for  Photographing  Relics 
of  Old  London  included  some  excellent  views  of  it  in  that  valuable  series 

'  Walcott. 


CHAPTER     VI 

APSLEY    HOUSE 

THERE  is  no  more  renowned  mansion  in  the  capital  than  "No.  i, 
London,"  as  Apsley  House  has  been,  appropriately  both  from  its 
position  and  its  intrinsic  significance,  called.  For  Englishmen 
it  represents,  crystallised  in  stone,  more  fully  perhaps  than  any 
other  dwelling  in  this  country,  an  idea,  a  sentiment  ;  and  although  we, 
as  a  race,  are  not  overmuch  given  to  the  cultivation  of  abstract  qualities 
or  the  worship  of  mere  formulas,  yet  if  we  can  ever  be  said  to  lapse 
into  such  phases  of  thought,  it  is  to  this  house  that  our  minds  will,  I 
think,  turn,  as  the  spot  consecrated  to  the  memory  of  one  who  may  justly 
be  termed  the  saviour  of  his  country. 

Little  more  than  fifty  years  have  passed  away  since  the  great  captain 
of  the  age  might  have  been  seen  in  the  fiesh  leaving  or  entering  that 
stern,  uncompromising  edifice  whose  outward  appearance  presented  a 
not  remote  resemblance  to  the  character  of  its  great  master  ;  but  even 
to-day,  when  the  bustle  of  life  has  taken  on  itself  a  more  pronounced  tone, 
and  we  have,  as  it  seems,  little  time  to  ponder  on  the  past,  the  most  prosaic 
can  hardly  gaze  at  those  portals  without  feeling  a  touch  of  pride  at  the 
thought  that  a  common  kinship  binds  him  to  the  man  with  whom  its 
stones  are  indissolubly  connected — a  man  whose  very  presence  rendered 
security  more  sure  and  whose  passing  seemed  to  carry  with  it  half  the 
safety  of  the  nation. 

Appropriately  enough  for  other  reasons,  as  it  seems,  was  Apsley  House 
called  "  No  i,  London,"  for  if  we  look  at  the  old  plans  of  this  portion 
of  the  town,  we  shall  see  that  its  site  was  just  at  the  south-west  corner 
of  that  mass  of  buildings  which  then  constituted  the  west-end  of  the 
town.  Appropriately,  too,  was  this  position  the  residence  of  the  great 
captain,  for  Hyde  Park  Corner  is  connected  with  at  least  two  military 
engagements — one,  when  Sir  Thomas  Wyatt  placed  his  ordnance  here  in 
1554  ;  and  the  other,  when  the  citizens  of  London  threw  up  a  fort  with  four 
bastions,  in  anticipation  of  Charles  L's  march  on  the  city  in  1642. 

Close  by  was  the  turnpike  forming,  as  it  were,  the  entrance  to  London 
at  this  point,  and  beyond  it,  to  the  further  west,  fields,  or  at  most  scattered 


to 

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APSLEY   HOUSE  171 

dwellings,  were  all  that  met  the  eye  where  now  vast  streets  and  myriads 
of  houses  form  what  we  are  accustomed  to  term  the  West-End.  Indeed, 
in  1787,  with  slight  exceptions,  the  south  of  Knightsbridge  was  as  much 
open  country  as  Hyde  Park  to  the  north,  and  St.  James's  and  the  Green 
Parks  to  the  east.  It  is  unnecessary  to  recapitulate  what  may  be  so  well 
gleaned  from  Larwood's  book  and  other  analogous  sources,  with  regard 
to  the  early  history  of  Hyde  Park,  of  which  Apsley  House  almost  forms 
an  integral  part,  but  it  will  be  interesting  to  remember  that  as  early  as 
the  days  of  Cromwell's  usurpation,  several  houses  were  erected  on  the 
ground  now  covered  by  Apsley  House  to  No.  i,  Hamilton  Place.  Indeed 
the  latter  thoroughfare  takes  its  name  from  James  Hamilton,  who  suc- 
ceeded the  Duke  of  Gloucester,  son  of  Charles  I.,  in  the  Rangership 
of  the  Park,  at  the  Restoration,  to  whom  the  leases  of  these  houses  were 
granted ;  a  grant  confirmed  to  Mrs.  Elizabeth  Hamilton,  for  the  usual 
term  of  ninety-nine  years,  in  1692.  The  actual  site  of  Apsley  House 
itself  was  for  many  years  occupied  by  the  Ranger's  Lodge,  and  practically 
adjoining  this  was  an  apple-stall,  connected  with  which  site  the  story 
goes  that  it  was  given  to  an  old  soldier,  named  Allen,  whom  the  King, 
George  II.,  recognised  as  having  fought  at  the  Battle  of  Dettingen  ;  possibly 
he  may  have  been  the  very  man  who  stayed  the  headlong  flight  of  his 
Majesty's  runaway  horse,  on  which  occasion,  as  we  all  know,  the  monarch 
dismounted  and  elected  to  fight  during  the  rest  of  the  day  on  foot,  ex- 
claiming :  "  For  then  I  know  I  shan't  run  away,"  or  words  in  German  or 
very  broken  English,  to  that  effect.  Allen  and  his  wife  kept  the  stall, 
and,  we  are  to  suppose,  thrived  thereon,  for  their  son  became  an  attorney ; 
and  in  course  of  time,  Allen  having  died  and  the  apple-stall  having  fallen 
down,  it  was  presumed  that  the  site  had  reverted  to  the  Crown,  or,  at 
any  rate,  it  was  found  convenient  to  suppose  so,  and  it  was  forthwith 
leased  to  Henry,  Lord  Apsley,  afterwards  Lord  Bathurst,  who  proceeded 
to  erect  a  house  on  the  site.'  But  the  Crown  and  Lord  Apsley  seem 
to  have  reckoned  without  Mr.  Attorney  Allen,  who  put  in  a  claim  for 
compensation  and  unlawful  ejectment.  So  successfully  did  he  make  out  his 
claim,  too,  that,  after  much  negotiation,  it  was  arranged  that  the  very 
considerable  sum  of  ^^450  per  annum  ground  rent  should  be  awarded 
him.  As  there  was  a  well-known  saying  at  the  time  that  here  was  "  a 
suit  by  one  old  woman  against  another,  and  the  Chancellor  (Lord 
Bathurst  was  Chancellor  from  177 1-8)  has  been  beaten  in  his  own  court," 
it  would  appear  that  the  widow  Allen  was  the  protagonist  in  the  struggle, 

'  Among  the  Adam  drawings,  preserved  in  the  Soane  Museum,  are  details  of  certain 
decorative  work  which  Adam  executed  here  for  Lord  Bathurst.  The  ceiling  of  the  Portico 
Room  is  part  of  the  Adam  designs,  and  the  arms  of  the  Bathursts  are  still  to  be  seen  there. 


172     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

and  her  son,  the  attorney,  her  legal  adviser.  The  inference  that  the 
Chancellor  was  "  an  old  woman "  gives  point  to  a  well-known  story. 
His  father.  Pope's  friend,  was  a  jovial  old  fellow,  and  on  one  occasion, 
when  nearly  ninety,  having  some  friends  to  dine  with  him,  he  was  urged 
by  his  son  to  retire  to  rest,  which  he  resolutely  refused  to  do,  and  when 
his  son  had  himself  withdrawn,  he  said  to  his  cronies  :  "  Come,  my  good 
friends,  since  the  old  gentleman  is  gone  to  bed,  I  think  we  may  venture 
to  crack  another  bottle." 

That  Lord  Bathurst  was  one  of  the  least  distinguished  of  those  who 
have  filled  the  high  office  of  Lord  Chancellor,  is  attested  by  Lord 
Campbell  who,  in  his  lives  of  those  dignitaries,  goes  so  far  as  to  consider 
the  erection  of  Apsley  House  as  the  most  notable  act  of  his  life  ;  his 
portrait  by  Brown  certainly  does  not  give  any  particular  evidence  either 
of  distinction  or  intelligence,  although  the  many  high  offices  his  Lordship 
held  at  various  times  ought  to  have  been  a  guarantee  of  his  attainments 
being  far  above  the  average. 

There  is  extant  a  drawing  showing  Hyde  Park  as  it  appeared  in  1750, 
with  the  cottage  and  apple-stall  in  front  of  it,  and  the  adjoining  tene- 
ments on  the  site  of  which  Apsley  House  now  stands,  as  well  as  the  old 
wooden  gates  of  the  Park,  which  were  replaced,  in  1828,  by  the  beautifully 
designed  screen  and  gates  of  Decim.us  Burton  ;  only  three  years  after 
which  alteration  the  old  toll  gate  close  by  had  been  sold  by  auction  in 
pursuance  of  an  Act  of  Parliament  which  had  been  passed  abolishing 
certain  toUs.^ 

Apsley  House  was  erected,  in  red  brick,  from  the  designs  of  the  Adam 
brothers,  and  occupied  some  seven  years  (177 1-8,  or  during  the  exact 
period  of  Lord  Apsley's  tenure  of  the  Lord  Chancellorship)  in  its  con- 
struction. Considering  the  renown '  of  its  architects  it  cannot  be  said  to 
have  greatly  added  to  the  artistic  features  of  the  metropolis  ;  but  it  was, 
as  may  be  seen  in  the  drawing  taken  of  it  in  1800,  which  is  in  the  Crace 
collection,  commodious,  and  the  excellence  of  its  situation  is  undeniable. 

It  remained  in  its  original  form  till  1828,  when  the  stone  front  and 
portico  were  added,  as  well  as  the  picture-gallery  and  rooms  under, 
and  the  mansion  wholly  encased  under  the  direction  of  Sir  Geoffrey 
WyatviUe.     But  before  that  date  three  notable  events  had  occurred  in 

'  A  woodcut  of  this  sale  is  given  in  Hone's  Everyday  Book.  But  although  the  toll  was  done 
away  with  here  it  seems  to  have  been  merely  transferred  to  Albert  Gate,  where  it  flourished  for 
many  years. 

'  If  the  story  be  true  which  avers  that  Lord  Bathurst  was  his  own  architect,  and  found  that 
he  had  omitted  to  provide  for  a  staircase  from  the  second  to  the  third  floor,  the  Adams  can 
only  be  considered  as  superintending,  and  very  indifTerently  superintending,  the  erection  of  the 
building. 


APSLEY   HOUSE  173 

its  history  ;  one  was  the  death  of  its  builder,  Lord  Bathurst,  in  1794  ;  ^ 
the  other,  the  sale  of  the  property  by  his  son,  the  third  Earl,  to  the  Marquis 
Wellesley,  in  1810;  the  last  and  most  important,  its  resale  by  the  Marquis, 
in  1820,  to  his  younger  and  more  famous  brother,  Arthur  Wellesley,  who 
had  been  created  Duke  of  Wellington  six  years  previously.^  It  was  the  last- 
named  who  carried  out  the  improvements  already  referred  to,  making 
certain  important  additions  which  included  the  famous  Waterloo  Gallery, 
and  other  apartments  on  the  west  side  of  the  house.  Ten  years  later  the 
Duke  purchased  the  Crown's  interest  in  the  property  for  ^^95  30;  the 
Crown  reserving  the  right  to  forbid  the  erection  of  any  other  house  or 
houses  on  the  site. 

One  of  the  best  remembered  additions  made  to  the  house  by  the 
great  Duke,  were  the  Bramah  bullet-proof  shutters  to  the  windows  of 
the  Waterloo  Gallery,  which  were  placed  there  on  account  of  the  mob's 
breaking  these  windows  during  the  Reform  Bill  riots  of  183 1.  The  circum- 
stances of  this  indignity  to  a  national  hero — this  example  of  "  benefits 
forgot,"  have  been  well  given  by  Gleig,  in  his  life  of  Wellington : 
"  The  Duke  was  not  in  his  place  in  the  House  of  Lords,"  says  his 
biographer,  "  on  that  memorable  day  when  the  King  went  down  to 
dissolve  Parliament.  He  had  been  in  attendance  for  some  time  pre- 
viously, at  the  sick  bed  of  the  Duchess,  and  she  expired  just  as  the  Park 
guns  began  to  fire.  He  was,  therefore,  ignorant  of  the  state  into  which 
London  had  fallen,  till  a  surging  crowd  swept  up  from  Westminster  to 
Piccadilly,  shouting,  and  yelling,  and  offering  violence  to  all  whom  they 
suspected  of  being  Anti-Reformers.  By-and-by  volleys  of  stones  came 
crashing  through  the  windows  at  Apsley  House,  breaking  them  to  pieces 
and  doing  injury  to  more  than  one  valuable  picture  in  the  gallery.  The 
Duke  bore  the  outrage  as  well  as  he  could,  but  determined  never  to  run 
a  similar  risk  again.  He  guarded  his  windows,  as  soon  as  quiet  was  re- 
stored, with  iron  shutters,  and  left  them  there  to  the  day  of  his  death, 
a  standing  memento  of  a  nation's  ingratitude."  Wellington's  remark 
a  fropos  of  these  shutters  is  well  known.  "  They  shall  remain  where 
they  are,"  he  said,  "  as  a  monument  of  the  gullibility  of  the  mob,  and  the 
worthlessness  of  that  sort  of  popularity  for  which  they  who  give  it  can 
assign  no  good  reason.  I  don't  blame  the  men  who  broke  my  windows. 
They  only  did  what  they  were  instigated  to  do  by  others  who  ought  to 
have  known  better.     But  if  any  one   be  disposed  to  grow  giddy  with 

'  In  1789,  when  Queen  Charlotte  and  the  Princesses  came  to  London  from  Kew,  to  see  the 
illuminations  on  the  occasion  of  George  lll.'s  recovery,  they  stayed  at  Apsley  House. 

2  In  the  Court  Guide  the  Marquis  Wellesley  is  given  as  residing  here  in  1815,  and  in  the 
next  year  the  Duke  is  entered  as  owner,  but  although  he  would  seem  to  have  lived  here, 
possibly  renting  the  place,  he  did  not  actually  purchase  it  till  1820. 


174     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

popular  applause,  I  think  a  glance  towards  these  iron  shutters  will  soon 
sober  him." 

In  connection  with  these  riots,  a  curious  circumstance  is  mentioned 
by  Lord  Stanhope,  in  his  Notes  of  Conversations  with  the  Duke  of 
Wellington :  "  The  Duke,"  writes  Stanhope,  "  was  one  day  sitting  in  his 
room  at  Apsley  House  when  a  stone  passed  over  his  head,  having  broken 
first  a  pane  in  the  window,  and  then  breaking  another  in  the  glass  book- 
case along  the  wall.  In  this  instance,  having  the  position  of  the  two 
broken  panes  to  go  by,  they  were  able  to  calculate  the  line  of  the  stone, 
and  they  reckoned  that  the  person  flinging  it  must  have  stood  nearly  as 
far  oflf  as  Stanhope  Street."     A  good  throw,  indeed  ! 

Wellington  was  hardly  the  man  to  forget  the  treatment  he  received  at 
this  time,  or  to  overestimate  the  value  of  popular  applause  or  disappro- 
bation ;  and  although  what  he  is  reported  to  have  said  at  the  time 
may  be  the  correct  version,  the  following  extract  from  Raikes's  Journal 
would  seem  to  indicate  that  he  considered  the  mob  as  a  whole  had  some- 
thing more  to  do  with  the  breaking  of  his  windows  than  merely  to  fulfil 
the  wishes  of  its  leaders  :  "  Some  time  afterwards,  when  he  had  regained 
all  his  popularity,  and  began  to  enjoy  that  great  and  high  reputation 
which  he  now,  it  is  to  be  hoped,  will  carry  to  the  grave,  he  was  riding 
up  Constitution  Hill,  in  the  Park,  followed  by  an  immense  mob,  who 
were  cheering  him  in  every  direction  ;  he  heard  it  all  with  the  most 
stoical  indifference,  never  putting  his  horse  out  of  a  walk,  or  seeming  to 
regard  them,  till  he  leisurely  arrived  at  Apsley  House,  when  he  stopped 
at  the  gate,  turned  round  to  the  rabble,  and  then  pointing  with  his  finger 
to  the  iron  blinds  which  still  closed  the  windows,  he  made  them  a 
sarcastic  bow,  and  entered  the  court  without  saying  a  word." 

Of  the  innumerable  great  entertainments,  political  meetings,  dinners, 
receptions,  &c.,  which  took  place  at  Apsley  House  during  the  life  of 
the  "  great  Duke,"  it  is  unnecessary  to  make  specific  mention  ;  nor  could 
a  chapter  contain  the  names  of  the  great  ones  who  came  here  as  his  guests : 
the  record  of  these  functions  is  to  be  found  in  the  innumerable  diaries 
and  letters  of  the  period.  But  one  of  them  claims,  and  justly  claims,  a 
word  ;  I  mean  the  Waterloo  Banquet,  which  every  year,  on  the  anni- 
versary of  that  fateful  day,  was  given  by  the  Duke.  The  room  in  which 
this  dinner  was  held  is  that  looking  on  to  Hyde  Park,  whose  windows, 
seven  in  number,  are  still  pointed  out  to  strangers  and  the  few  Londoners 
who  are  ignorant  of  their  historic  interest.  Here,  on  the  anniversary  of 
the  1 8th  June  1815,  in  every  year  during  Wellington's  Hfe,  were  gathered 
together  the  officers  who  fought  on  and  survived  the  field  of  Waterloo. 
The  well-known  engraving  published  by  Messrs.  Moon,  Boys,  &  Graves, 


APSLEY   HOUSE  175 

perpetuates  the  brilliant  scene,  with  the  hero  of  a  hundred  fights  its 
central  figure  and  all  the  chivalry  of  the  country  gathered  around  him. 
Then  was  used  the  magnificent  service  of  Sevres  presented  to  the  Duke 
by  Louis  XVIII.  ;  then,  the  Silver  Plateau  given  him  by  the  people  of 
Portugal  and  presented  by  the  Regent  of  that  country  ;  while  on  the 
sideboard  ghttered  the  superb  silver  gilt  shield  designed  by  Stothard, 
which  the  Merchants  and  Bankers  of  London  had  offered  to  the  great 
leader  who  had  kept  intact  the  safety  and  honour  of  the  capital. 

Before  anything  is  said  of  the  treasures  with  which  Apsley  House  is 
filled,  it  will  be  interesting  to  note  one  or  two  circumstances  connected 
with  it ;  thus  it  is  a  curious  fact  that  the  Duke  was  never  known  to  refer 
to  it  either  in  conversation  or  by  letter,  as  Apsley  House  ;  during  his 
life-time  it  was  regarded  as  "  Wellington's  House  " — and  such  a  title 
was  properly  deemed  a  sufficient  indication.  It  is  also  interesting  to 
know  that  the  bullet-proof  shutters  were  removed  in  1856,  four  years 
after  the  Duke's  death  ;  while  the  screen  in  front  of  the  door,  which 
Wellington  had  had  erected  to  hide  him  from  the  crowd  that  was  used 
to  assemble  to  see  him  mount  his  horse,  was  taken  down  by  the  second 
Duke,  who  said  that  "  he  was  sure  no  crowd  would  assemble  to  see 
him  get  on  his  horse."  The  well-known  appearance  of  the  great  Duke, 
in  his  habitual  blue  coat  and  white  duck  trousers,  must  not  be  forgotten, 
as  no  one  who  once  saw  it  can  forget  it.  I  know  a  dear  old  clergyman, 
one  of  whose  most  cherished  memories  is  that  on  one  occasion  he  guided 
the  great  man  across  the  road,  and  received  from  him  in  recognition  a 
touch  of  the  hat  and  a  "  thank'ee,  thank'ee,"  which,  such  is  the  power 
of  genius,  is  as  clearly  heard  in  that  old  parson's  ears  as  if  it  had  been 
uttered  yesterday.  Lord  EUesmere  records  too,  how  he  met  the  Duke 
one  day  and  how  "  he  walked  slow  and  stopped  often  to  expatiate.  Re- 
cognition and  reverence  of  all  as  usual.  Hats  were  taken  off  ;  passers 
made  excuse  for  stopping  to  gaze.  Young  surgeons  on  the  steps  of  St. 
George's  Hospital  forgot  their  lecture  and  their  patients,  and  even  the 
butcher's  boy  pulled  up  his  cart,  as  he  stopped  at  the  gate  of  Apsley 
House." 

Indeed  he  was  such  an  institution  that  people  were  used  to  gather 
together  in  front  of  his  dwelling,  to  await  his  entrance  or  exit ;  country 
cousins  were  taken  to  its  vicinity,  on  the  chance  of  seeing  the  "  sights 
self  "  ;  omnibus  drivers  took  pride  in  pointing  out  his  residence,  and  if 
in  luck's  way  the  great  man  in  -propria  persona  ;  shopkeepers  ran  to  their 
doors  as  he  passed,  and  all  the  world  from  the  peer  to  the  postman  saluted 
him ;  he  was  indeed,  as  Carlyle  says  of  Frederick,  "  every  inch  a  king," 
and  like  the  great  Prussian  presented  himself  in  a  Spartan  simplicity  of 


176    THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

vestment  which  caught  the  popular  imagination  far  more  than  could  the 
regal  panoply. 

It  is  for  such  memories  that  Apsley  House  ^  may  well  be  considered 
the  most  important  of  those  private  palaces  with  which  I  am  dealing. 
Although  the  whole  of  Apsley  House  is  reminiscent  of  the  great  figure 
that  dominates  its  every  chamber,  there  are  two  rooms — the  largest  and 
one  of  the  smallest — which  are  particularly  connected  with  it  ;  and  in 
these  two  rooms  are  reflected  the  varied  characteristics  that  chiefly 
embody  in  our  minds  the  qualities  of  the  great  Duke  :  his  pre-eminent 
genius  as  a  commander,  and  his  inherent  simplicity  of  taste  and  manner  ; 
his  "  transcendent  fame,"  and  his  innate  modesty.  The  one  is  the  great 
Waterloo  Gallery  ;  the  other,  the  bedroom  which  he  habitually  used. 
No  greater  antithesis  could  well  be  imagined  than  that  furnished  by  these 
two  apartments — the  one  small  and  ill-lighted,  with  its  iron  bedstead,  so 
small,  by-the-bye,  that  some  one  once  observed  to  the  Duke  that  there  was 
no  room  to  turn  in  it,  to  which  the  great  man  replied  :  "  When  I  want 
to  turn  in  bed  I  know  it  is  time  to  turn  out  "  ;  the  other,  magnificent  in 
proportion,  superb  in  decoration,  and  lighted  not  only  by  its  seven 
windows  looking  out  on  the  finest  prospect  in  London,  but  also  illumi- 
nated by  the  wonders  of  pictorial  art  which  hang  on  its  walls,  and  made 
more  gorgeous  by  a  hundred  beautiful  treasures  scattered  about  it. 

Here  hangs  Van  Dyck's  Charles  I.— a  replica  of  the  well-known  picture 
in  the  Royal  Collection,  which  was  bought  by  Lord  Cowley  in  Spain, 
and  is  generally  supposed  to  have  been  presented  by  Charles  L  to 
Philip  IV.  ;  here  are  two  portraits  by  Sir  Antonio  More,  and  a  delightful 
Wouvermans,  "  The  Return  from  the  Chase,"  mentioned  with  much 
praise  by  Waagen.  No  fewer  than  seven  Velasquezs  of  great  power  and 
beauty  are  included  in  the  pictures  that  grace  the  gallery,  four  of  which 
were  among  those  taken  in  Joseph  Bonaparte's  carriage  after  the  battle  of 
Vittoria.  One  of  these,  "  The  Water-Carrier,"  is  said  to  have  been  pro- 
duced by  the  great  Spaniard  when  he  was  but  twenty  ;  he  had  found 
himself  even  thus  early,  and  how  surely  !  This  fine  picture  is  the  chef- 
d'oeuvre  of  that  class  of  work — kitchen  and  tavern  scenes  after  the  manner 
of  the  Dutch  masters,  which  constituted  Velasquez's  first  independent 
excursion  into  artistic  activity.  The  painter  took  it  with  him,  says  Sir 
Walter  Armstrong,  when  he  went  to  Madrid,  and  on  the  completion  of 
the  palace  of  Buen  Retiro,  it  was  selected  to  form  part  of  the  decorations 
of  one  of  the  rooms.  Later  it  found  a  home  in  the  new  Bourbon  Palace, 
and  together  with  the  famous  Correggio,  it  was  carried  away  by  Joseph 

'  It  may  be  noted  that  further  alterations,  other  than  those  I  have  noted,  were  made  to  tlie 
house  in  1853,  under  the  direction  of  Philip  Hardwick,  the  architect. 


APSLEY   HOUSE  177 

Bonaparte  in  his  flight  after  Vittoria.  Together  with  its  companion 
canvas  it  was  sent  by  WelHngton  to  Ferdinand,  who  begged  the  conqueror's 
acceptance  of  both  works.  Sir  Walter  Armstrong,  in  noting  the  simpHcity 
and  fideHty  of  the  work,  remarks  that  its  striking  effect  is  produced  by 
the  easy  and  natural  juxtaposition  of  the  three  heads — that  of  the  water- 
seller  himself,  who  stands  before  a  rough  table,  his  left  hand  on  the  great 
stoppered  jar  at  his  side,  and  in  his  right  a  glass  goblet ;  and  those  of  his 
two  boyish  customers,  one  of  whom  is  just  taking  the  glass  of  water  from 
the  hands  of  the  Aguador} 

The  other  works  by  Velasquez  are  portraits  and  landscapes  ;  one  of 
them,  a  presentment  of  Pope  Innocent  X.,  is  supposed  to  be  the  study 
for  the  picture  in  the  Doria  Pamfili  Palace.  The  still  powerful  and 
vigorous,  if  sinister  features  of  Innocent,  probably  one  of  the  ugliest  men 
of  his  day,  were  just  those  to  which  such  an  artist  as  Velasquez  was  able 
to  do  the  fullest  justice  ;  and  even  if  it  were  the  case  that  the  then 
Cardinal's  coarse  and  sensual  features  were  seriously  urged  as  a  reason  for 
his  not  receiving  the  Tiara,  and  were  given  by  Guido  to  the  Satan  in  his 
St.  Michael,  still  they  afforded  Velasquez  the  opportunity  of  producing 
one  of  his  most  remarkable  portraits.  Sir  Walter  Armstrong,  indeed, 
goes  so  far  as  to  affirm  that  by  the  side  of  this  picture,  even  the  Leo  X. 
of  Raphael,  to  say  nothing  of  that  master's  Julius  II.,  seems  lifeless  and 
wooden ;  the  work  at  Apsley  House  presents  us  simply  with  the  head  and 
bust  of  the  Pope — whereas  the  Doria  Pamfili  picture  is  almost  full  length, 
and  shows  the  hands,  one  of  which  is  holding  a  paper,  to  be  full  of  power 
and  character.  Another  portrait  is  that  of  the  poet  Quevedo — with  his 
unornamental  and  prodigious — we  can  but  hope  useful — ^horn  spectacles 
Quevedo  had  injured  his  sight  by  incessant  application  to  study  in  his 
youth,  which  necessitated  the  use  of  these  spectacles.  The  picture  in 
question  shows  him  wearing  a  dark  doublet  on  which  is  sewn  the  cross  of 
Santiago,  and  was  thus  probably  painted  before  the  poet  fell  into  disgrace, 
and  still  filled  the  post  of  secretary  to  the  King.  Another  splendid 
example  of  this  great  master,  is  the  picture  of  two  boys  at  a  table,  one  of 
whom  with  his  back  to  the  spectator  is  drinking,  while  the  other  faces 
him  ;  there  is  also  a  portrait  of  a  Spanish  gentleman,  and  two  vigorous 
landscapes  from  the  same  hand,  one  of  the  latter  being  a  view  of 
Pampeluna,  the  capital  of  Navarre,  which  was  purchased  by  the  first 
Duke,  in  1844,  from  the  Brackenbury  collection.  Then  perhaps  above 
all,  there  is  a  small  but  perfect  Correggio — "  Christ  in  the  Garden  of 

'   Velasquez,  by  Sir  Walter  Armstrong. 

-  Formerly  in  Lady  Stuart's  collection,  and  bought  by  the  Duke  from  Smith,  of  Bond 
Street,  for  £\o'-„  at  the  suggestion  of  Lord  Ellesmere. 

M 


« 


1 78    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Gethsemane,"  of  which  Vasari  was  so  enthusiastic  that  he  specifically 
speaks  of  it  when  he  saw  it  at  Reggio,  as  "  la  piu  Bella  cosa  che  si  fossa 
vedere  di  suo^''  a  verdict  substantially  re-echoed  by  all  later  judges. 
The  head  of  Christ  with  the  single  ray  of  light  which  falls  upon  it, 
is  extraordinarily  fine  ;  and  the  arrangement  by  which  the  light  is 
reflected  from  the  white  robe  of  the  central  figure  on  to  the  disciples  in 
the  middle  distance,  is  a  tour  de  force  ;  while,  notwithstanding  that  the 
work  is  finished  with  the  utmost  minuteness,  there  is  a  breadth  of  treat- 
ment in  it  which  makes  it  a  masterpiece  of  draughtsmanship  and  chiaro- 
scuro. There  is  a  tradition  that  this  thing  of  beauty  was  painted  to  pay 
a  debt  of  four  scudi  which  Correggio  owed  to  an  apothecary — lucky  man 
of  drugs  !  It  was,  however,  soon  after  sold  for  five  hundred  scudi.  The 
picture  belonged  to  Joseph  Bonaparte  and  had  previously  been  in  the 
gallery  of  the  Princess  of  the  Asturias,  at  Madrid,  where  Mengs  saw  it.' 
After  Vittoria,  it  was  found  in  the  King's  travelling  carriage  together, 
as  we  have  seen,  with  the  Velasquez.  Waagen,  who  criticises  very  fully, 
with  the  utmost  admiration  this  beautiful  work,  notes  that  it  must  at 
one  time  have  been  much  exposed  to  the  sun  or  other  heat,  as  the  colour 
has  everywhere  shrunk  considerably,  but  that  otherwise  it  was  in  an  ex- 
cellent state  of  preservation  when  he  saw  it. 

The  great  Duke  so  greatly  treasured  this  picture  that  Gurwood  once 
told  Haydon,  that  he  kept  the  key  of  the  glass  which  covered  it  himself, 
and  that  when  the  glass  was  dusty  he  cleaned  it  with  his  handkeixhief. 
Once  Gurwood  asked  the  Duke  to  let  him  have  the  key,  to  which  the 
emphatic  reply  was  "  No,  I  won't." 

Another  very  beautiful  picture  hanging  in  the  gallery  is  "  The  Virgin 
and  Child,"  by  Luini,  which  was  once  in  the  Royal  Spanish  collection, 
before  Joseph  Bonaparte  lost  it  after  Vittoria  in  trying  to  carry  it  away. 
This  fine  work  has  been  attributed  to  Andrea  del  Sarto,  and  even  to  the 
great  Leonardo  himself,  to  whose  manner  it  has  a  remarkable  resem- 
blance. Very  noticeable,  too,  is  Tintoretto's  three-quarter  length  por- 
trait of  Cicogna,  Doge  of  Venice,  seated  on  a  red  throne,  which  the  great 
Duke  bought  from  the  Dennys  collection,  in  1845. 

There  are  here  two  presentments  of  Caterina  Cornaro,  the  famous 
Queen  of  Cyprus,  one  from  the  brush  of  Paul  Veronese,  the  other  by 
Titian.  The  former  is  supposed  to  be  the  picture  which  was  purchased 
by  Mr.  King,  at  the  sale  of  Beckford's  collection  in  1823,  for  the  ridiculous 

»  Waagen  states  that  it  was  engraved  so  early  as  1 560,  by  Custi.  The  well-known  rendering 
of  the  same  subject  in  the  National  Gallery,  although  stated  to  be  a  replica,  has  by  some 
critics  been  considered  as  a  fine  copy  of  the  original,  made  by  Lodovico  Carracci.  There  are 
also  copies  at  Florence  and  Dresden.  Archdeacon  Coxe  states  that  a  beautiful  and  faithful 
copy  was  painted  by  John  Jackson,  R.A. 


APSLEY   HOUSE  179 

sum  of  sixteen  guineas.  A  little  over  twenty  years  later  the  Duke  bought 
it  from  Mr.  Graves,  for  ;^I05. 

Among  the  other  Titians  in  the  gallery  is  the  portrait  of  his  mistress, 
three-quarter  length  and  life  size,  and  a  Danae,  both  of  which  were  among 
the  pictures  taken  from  Joseph  Bonaparte's  traveUing  carriage  after  the 
battle  of  Vittoria. 

Turning  to  the  Murillos,  special  mention  must  be  made  of  the  "  Old 
Woman  eating  Porridge,"  for  which  the  Duke  gave  ^250  ;  "  St.  Francis  of 
Assisi  receiving  the  Stigmata  "  ;  "  Isaac  blessing  Jacob,"  and  his  "  St. 
Catherine,"  all  of  which  came  from  Spain,  among  the  Vittoria  booty. 
Then  there  is  a  fine  "  St.  Catherine  of  Alexandria,"  by  Claudio  Coello  ; 
and  Spagnoletto's  "  Peter  Repentant  "  ;  a  "  St.  John  the  Baptist  "  ;  a  half- 
length  portrait  of  Santiago  (St.  James),  and  particularly  a  gruesome 
but  powerful  work  by  the  same  master  called  "  La  Carcasse,"  where  the 
skeleton  of  a  huge  monster  is  drawn  by  nude  figuus. 

In  this  wonderfully  representative  gathering  of  fine  works,  it  is  im- 
possible to  do  more  than  merely  name  some  of  the  subjects  and  their 
painters  ;  nor  is,  in  this  case,  more  needed,  for  an  elaborate  catalogue 
was  prepared  some  years  ago  by  Evelyn,  Duchess  of  WelUngton,  in  which 
each  work  is  fully  described  and  in  many  instances  reproduced.  But 
what  a  wealth  of  pictorial  art  is  to  be  seen  hanging  on  the  walls  of  the 
gaUery  alone  may  be  imagined  when  I  state  that  Leonardo  da  Vinci, 
with  a  "  Virgin  and  Child  "  ;  Claude  with  two  landscapes  of  great  beauty  ; 
Carlo  Cignani,  with  a  "  Venus  and  Adonis  "  ;  Parmegiano  with  a  "  Marriage 
of  St.  Catherine  "  ;  Carlo  Dolci,  with  an  "  Ecce  Homo,"  and  Guercino 
with  a  "  Mars,"  are  all  represented.  Then  there  is  a  battle  piece  full  of 
action  by  Salvator  Rosa,  and  a  delightful  "  Holy  Family,"  by  Sassoferrato  ; 
as  well  as  a  "  Virgin  and  Child  "  by  Guilio  Romano,  of  such  power 
and  beauty  that  Benjamin  West  once,  bracketing  it  with  the  lovely 
Correggio,  remarked  that  they  should  be  framed  in  diamonds,  and  that 
it  was  worth  fighting  a  battle  for  them  alone  ! 

Besides  these,  and  how  many  others,  the  number  of  splendid  examples 
of  the  Dutch  and  Flemish  schools  is  extraordinary.  There  are  the  "  Holy 
Family,"  by  Rubens,  and  a  landscape  by  Johannes  Vermeer  ;  Vandyck's 
"  Magdalen  with  Angels  "  ;  and  "  The  Colbert  Family  on  Horseback,"  by 
Van  der  Meulen  ;  a  pair  of  Wouvermans,  one,  "  The  Return  from  the 
Chase,"  and  the  other  "  The  Departure  of  a  Hawking  Party,"  both  very 
fine  examples,  and  "  A  Grey  Horse  and  Cavalier,"  by  Cuyp,  which  the 
Duke  bought  from  the  Lapeyriere  collection  in  1817,  and  which  was 
exhibited  at  the  British  Institution  in  the  following  year,  and  in  the 
Old   Masters   as    recently   as    1890;     Breughel's   "Travellers   Crossing  a 


i8o     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Ford,"  and  "  A  Man's  Head,"  by  Ferdinand  Bol ;  while  besides  these  are 
examples  of  the  work  of  Van  der  Neer,  from  the  Royal  Spanish  collection, 
and  not  this  time  one  of  his  usual  moonlight  effects,  but  "  Boys  with  a 
Trapped  Bird  "  ;  Terborch  with  the  "  Signing  the  Peace  of  Westphalia," 
which  curiously  enough  used  to  hang  in  the  very  room  in  which  the  Treaty 
of  Paris  was  signed  in  1814,  having  once  belonged  to  Talleyrand; 
Poelenburg  ;  David  Teniers,  both  the  elder  and  the  younger,  of  whom 
there  are  several  examples  ;  Duyster,  Pieter  Gysels,  and  Elsheimer, 
while  there  is  one  Enghsh  picture,  in  this  case  one  of  Sir  Joshua's  rare 
landscapes,  "  The  Flight  into  Egypt,"  which  came  from  the  Northwich 
collection,  in  1859. 

In  what  is  called  the  Piccadilly  Drawing-Room — the  apartment  with 
its  windows  over  the  porch  facing  Piccadilly,  hang  a  number  of  Teniers. 
One  of  these  pictures  is  small,  being  only  ten  inches  broad  by  six  inches 
in  height,  and  yet  within  that  tiny  compass  no  less  than  thirty  figures, 
painted  with  the  delicacy  of  a  miniature,  are  hit  off  with  a  verve  and 
spirit  that  Meissonier,  who  so  powerfully  combined  breadth  and  finish, 
might  have  envied.  The  picture  bears  the  date  of  1655,  and  Waagen 
is  my  authority  for  stating  that  it  was  purchased  at  the  sale  of  the 
Lapeyriere  collection,  in  18 17,  for  5550  francs. 

This  room  might  well  be  called  the  Dutch  Room,  for  nearly  all  the 
pictures  in  it  had  their  origin  in  the  land  of  dykes.  For  instance  there 
is  Backhuysen's  "  Embarkation  of  De  Ruyter,"  which  the  Duke  pur- 
chased from  the  Le  Rouge  collection,  in  181 8,  and  for  which  he  paid 
^880  ;  and  Brouwer's  "  Boers  Smoking,"  another  of  Wellington's  pur- 
chases, having  been  bought  at  the  Lapeyriere  sale  for  ^96,  on  which 
occasion,  among  many  other  purchases,  the  Duke  secured  Ostade's  "  Game 
of  Gallet,"  for  ;^2i8  ;   and  Mieris's  "  Cavaliers  Drinking,"  for  ^100. 

Of  the  two  Van  der  Heydens,  that  representing  a  view  on  the  Vecht, 
a  particularly  fine  work,  cost  but  ^216  in  the  Le  Rouge  sale,  and  Nicholas 
Maes's  "  The  Listener,"  so  full  of  expression,  and  so  consummate  in  the 
management  of  its  black  and  red  harmonies,  was  actually  secured  at  the 
same  time  for  ^64  ! 

There  are  three  Jan  Steens  in  this  room  ;  one  of  them,  the  famous 
"  Sick  Lady,"  came  from  the  Lapeyriere  collection,  and  was  extraordinarily 
cheap  at  the  ^£456  which  the  Duke  gave  for  it  ;  while  Gaspar  Netscher's 
"  The  Toilet,"  if  it  can  be  believed,  cost  but  ^36  at  the  same  dispersal. 
Besides  these,  there  are  Van  der  Velde's  "  Vessels  in  a  Calm,"  and 
Abraham  Storck's  "  Ships  in  a  River  "  ;  a  hunting  scene  by  Paul  Bril, 
and  a  landscape  with  St.  Hubert,  by  the  same  painter  ;  as  well  as  a  pair 
of  Linglebach's  landscapes ;    and  the  "  Rape  of  Proserpine,"  by  Nicholas 


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APSLEY   HOUSE  i8i 

Verkolie,  the  son  of  Jan  Verkolie,  and  a  Van  Huysum;  which  was  once  in 
the  Le  Rouge  Gallery  ;  while  examples  are  here  of  the  work  of  Karl  du 
Jardin  and  De  Hoogh ;  Dietrich,  and  Moucheron. 

The  library  contains  a  rather  indifferent  picture  of  the  once  cele- 
brated lion  tamer,  Van  Amburgh  in  his  cage,  by  Landseer,  of  which 
Waagen,  although  he  says  the  animals  are  executed  in  a  masterly  manner, 
justly  criticises  the  theatrical  and  common  presentment  of  Van  Amburgh, 
as  "  by  no  means  doing  credit  to  his  kind,"  ^  and  in  the  Portico  Room 
hangs  the  well-known  "  Chelsea  Pensioners  "  of  Wilkie.  This  masterly 
and  characteristic  work,  with  its  varied  expressions  of  interest,  excitement, 
and  humour,  was  painted  for  the  Duke  in  1822  ;  the  great  man  paying 
the  price  agreed  on — 1200  guineas  in  bank  notes.  Haydon  prints  the 
letter  in  which  Wilkie  describes  the  visit  of  the  Duke  to  his  studio 
on  August  17,  1816,  in  company  with  several  friends.  "  At  last,"  says 
the  artist,  "  Lady  Argyle  began  to  tell  me  that  the  Duke  wished  me  to 
paint  him  a  picture,  and  was  explaining  what  the  subject  was,  when  the 
Duke,  who  was  at  that  time  seated  on  a  chair  and  looking  at  one  of  the 
pictures  that  happened  to  be  on  the  ground,  turned  to  us,  and  swinging 
back  upon  the  chair  turned  up  his  lively  eye  to  me  and  said  that 
the  subject  should  be  a  parcel  of  old  soldiers  assembled  together  on 
their  seats  at  the  door  of  a  public-house,  chewing  tobacco  and  talking 
over  their  old  stories.  He  thought  they  might  be  in  any  uniform,  and 
that  it  should  be  at  some  public-house  in  the  King's  Road,  Chelsea." 
With  some  further  suggestions,  from  which  Wilkie  told  the  Duke  a 
beautiful  picture  ought  to  be  evolved,  the  great  man  left  the  studio, 
and  the  chair  he  had  sat  on  was  immediately  singled  out  and  decorated 
with  ribbons  by  the  painter's  proud  family. 

In  the  same  room  at  Apsley  House  is  also  to  be  seen  the  picture  by 
Burnet,  for  which  the  Duke  paid  the  painter  500  guineas,  and  which  was 
executed  as  a  companion  to  the  "  Chelsea  Pensioners "  ;  it  represents 
"  Greenwich  Pensioners  receiving  the  News  of  the  Battle  of  Trafalgar  "  ; 
while  here  also  hang  a  portrait  of  Pitt  by  Hoppner  ;  Lady  Lyndhurst, 
by  Wilkie  ;  Spencer  Percival,  by  Joseph ;  and  a  portrait  of  Reynolds  by 
himself ;  besides  which  are  examples  of  MuriUo  and  Albano  ;  Annibale 
Caracci  and  Andrea  del  Sarto ;  Wouvermans  and  Watteau,  so  that  a  note 
of  catholicity  is  struck  here,  as  in  nearly  all  the  rooms  in  the  mansion. 

Another  room — named,  from  the  prevailing  tone  of  its  decoration, 
the  Small  Yellow  Drawing  Room — contains  one  or  two  pictures  of  intrinsic 
interest  rather  than  of  artistic  worth  ;  although  when  I  state  that  one 

'  The  Duke  is  said  to  have  suggested  this  picture,  and  to  have  read  to  the  painter  the  verse 
in  Genesis  in  which  dominion  is  given  to  Adam  over  the  beasts  of  the  field. 


1 82     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

of  them  is  WilHe's  portrait  of  William  IV.,  painted  in  1833,  and 
presented  to  the  Duke  by  the  King,  it  will  be  recognised  that  one  of 
them  at  least  cannot  be  said  to  wholly  lack  value  as  a  work  of  art. 
This  picture,  which  shows  us  the  King  habited  in  the  uniform  of  the 
Grenadier  Guards,  was  exhibited  at  the  Royal  Academy,  and  although 
attracting  attention  was  somewhat  thrown  into  the  shade  by  the  same 
painter's  remarkable  presentment  of  the  Duke  of  Sussex,  which  was  at 
the  time  described  as  "  the  first  of  all  modern  portraits  for  truth  and 
character  and  harmonious  brightness  of  colour."  ' 

Among  other  works  in  this  room,  there  is  an  elaborate  and  curious 
picture  of  the  "  Animals  entering  the  Ark,"  by  Breughal  and  Van  Kessell  ; 
and  the  well-known  and  much  engraved  "  Illicit  Still,"  by  Landseer  ; 
as  well  as  the  same  painter's  picture  of  Napoleon's  famous  charger, 
"  Moscow,"  and  a  number  of  military  scenes  by  De  Fontaine,  one  of 
which  represents  Napoleon  crossing  the  Danube  before  the  battle  of 
Essling.  An  incident  in  one  of  Wellington's  campaigns  is  also  repre- 
sented here,  in  T.  J.  Barker's  picture  of  the  Duke  writing  for  reinforce- 
ments at  the  Bridge  of  Sauroren.  For  the  rest  there  are  a  number  of 
portraits  hanging  in  this  apartment,  among  which  are  two  of  Napoleon 
by  Lef^vre,  two  of  Josephine  by  the  same  painter,  and  one  of  the  great 
Duke  himself. 

A  large  picture  of  George  IV.,  by  Wilkie,  represents  the  King  in 
Highland  dress ;  "  a  very  stately  figure,  of  astonishing  force  and  effect 
of  colour,"  is  Waagen's  comment.  This  portrait  was  presented  by  the 
monarch  to  the  Duke,  and  used  formerly  to  hang  in  the  Small  Drawing 
Room,  but  is  now  in  the  Dining  Room  in  company  with  presentments 
of  Francis  II.  of  Austria,  WilHam  III.  of  Prussia,  and  WilHam  I.  of 
Holland  ;  Louis  XVIII. ,  and  Alexander  I.  of  Russia,  both  by  Baron  Gerard, 
among  others  most  of  which  were  either  painted  for  the  Duke,  or  pre- 
sented to  him  by  the  various  sovereigns,  the  safety  of  whose  kingdoms 
and  the  perpetuation  of  whose  lines  as  reigning  families,  he  did  so  much 
to  secure. 

Although  not  of  course  artistically  interesting,  yet  having  a  certain 
value  of  their  own,  if  only  to  show  that  the  great  Duke  appreciated 
art  in  its  most  perfect  form,  and  must  have  exercised  much  self- 
restraint  in  refraining  from  carrying  away  many  masterpieces  which  his 
rdle  as  conqueror  placed  at  his  disposal,  are  the  four  copies  of  Raphael's 
works,  "  The  Spasimo,"  "  La  Madonna  del  Pesce,"  "  The  Pearl,"  and 
"  The  Visitation,"  hanging  in  Apsley  House,  which  Wellington  com- 
missioned Bonnemaison  to  reproduce  while  they  were  in  Paris.     They 

'  "Sir  David  Wilkie,"  by  Mollett. 


APSLEY   HOUSE  183 

are  interesting  copies  of  these  celebrated  pictures,  but  hardly  of  the 
artistic  excellence  of  another  copy  at  Apsley  House,  that  of  the  "  Madonna 
della  Sedia,"  which  is  readily  understandable  when  we  know  that  in  this 
case  the  copyist  is  supposed  to  have  been  no  less  a  master  than  Guilio 
Romano. 

The  portraits  at  Apsley  House  are  generally  interesting,  rather  from 
the  individuals  represented  than  from  the  fame  of  their  painters,  although 
in  several  cases  there  is  a  satisfactory  combination  of  both  attractions. 
Here  is  John,  Duke  of  Marlborough,  solemnly  hanging  in  the  house  of 
the  commander  who  rivalled  him  in  military  glory,  and  far  out-distanced 
him  in  integrity  ;  here  is  Pitt — the  greater  son  of  a  great  father — who 
did  so  much  to  make  many  of  those  victories  possible  and  to  further  en- 
hance that  military  glory  ;  and  here  is  Mr.  Arbuthnot,  the  lifelong  friend 
of  the  Duke,  who  died  at  Apsley  House  in  apartments  especially  assigned 
to  him  by  his  old  friend  ;  when  one  looks  at  that  portrait  it  is  difficult 
to  forget  the  pathetic  anxiety  of  the  Duke  during  Mr.  Arbuthnot's  last 
illness,  and  the  occasion  when  the  doctor  had  uttered  the  patient's  doom, 
and  the  great  Duke,  almost  breaking  down,  seized  his  hand  and  gazing 
into  his  face  exclaimed  :  "  No,  no  ;  he's  not  very  ill,  not  very  bad — 
he'll  get  better.  It's  only  his  stomach  that's  out  of  order.  He'll  not 
die."  ' 

Here,  too,  we  have  Elizabeth,  Duchess  of  Wellington,  painted  by 
Gambardella  ;  while  many  of  Wellington's  comrades  in  arms  are,  of  course, 
represented  ;  Lord  Beresford,  Lord  Lynedoch,  and  Lord  Anglesey,  all 
perpetuated  by  the  brush  of  Lawrence  ;  Blucher  is  here  in  the  city  he 
would,  mutatis  mutandis,  have  liked  to  sack  ;  and  Alava,  who  fought 
under  the  Duke  in  the  Peninsular  War,  and  was  afterwards  Ambassador 
in  London ;  so  is  Soult  whom  Wellington  met  under  such  varied  circum- 
stances ;  and  Pope  Pius  VH.,  whom  Napoleon  ordered  from  Rome  to 
crown  him,  and  at  the  crucial  moment  snatched  the  imperial  diadem 
from  the  trembling  pontiff's  hands,  and  put  it  on  himself. 

Beechey  painted  the  portrait  of  Nelson  which  is  here.  We  all  know 
the  story  of  how  the  great  sea-captain  and  the  hero  of  a  hundred  fights 
met  once — in  Pitt's  waiting-room — and  did  not  know  each  other  !  Lord 
Castlereagh,  who  committed  suicide  and  drew  down  some  of  Shelley's 
most  bitter  invectives,  and  who  was  said  to  have  been  the  most  noticeable 
figure  at  the  Congress  of  Vienna,  because  he  was  the  only  diplomatist 
present  who  wore  no  orders,  may  also  be  seen  ;  as  may  Spencer  Perceval, 
whom  Bellingham  did  to  death  in  the  lobby  of  the  House  ;  and  here, 
too,  is  Colonel  Gurwood,  who  edited  the  despatches  of  the  Duke — those 

'  Gleig. 


1 84     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

extraordinary  examples  of  military  knowledge,  patient  industry,  and 
untiring  activity. 

Most  of  these  portraits  hang  in  the  Yellow  Drawing  Room,  and  with 
them  are  many  others  of  "  Wellington's  men,"  mostly  from  the  brush 
of  Pieneman,  such  as  Sir  John  Elley,  Ponsonby,  and  Sir  Colin  Campbell, 
the  last  being  the  original  sketch  for  the  figure  in  the  large  Waterloo 
picture  now  at  Amsterdam,  and  signed  "J.  W.  P.,  Apsley  House,  1821  "; 
Viscount  Hill  and  Lord  E.  Somerset ;  Lord  Seaton  and  Lord  Raglan  ; 
General  Fremantle  and  Sir  Colin  Halkett  ;  Sir  George  Cooke  and  Col. 
Thornhill  ;  while  there  is  a  fine  portrait  of  Lord  Combermere  by  Hayter  ; 
Joseph  Bonaparte  by  Baron  Gerard  ;  and  the  Duke  himself  by  Gambar- 
della,  a  copy  of  Lawrence's  picture,  and  also  by  C.  R.  Leslie.  And, 
appropriately  in  the  midst  of  this  military  picture-gallery,  hangs  Sir 
W.  Allan's  "  Waterloo,"  representing  the  field  as  it  appeared  at  7.30  p.m., 
when  Napoleon  made  his  last  desperate  effort  to  retrieve  his  falling 
fortunes  and  Ney,  bravest  of  the  brave,  led  on  foot  the  Old  Guard  to 
their  last  fruitless  attack,  of  which  picture  the  Duke  once  remarked  : 
"  Good — very  good — not  too  much  smoke." 

Some  family  portraits  hang  in  the  Lower  Drawing  Room,  including 
a  particularly  fine  one  of  the  first  Lord  Cowley  by  Hoppner  ;  Lawrence's 
Lady  WeUesley,  and  Lady  Worcester,  and  Hoppner's  well-known  group 
of  Lady  Anne  Fitzroy,  afterwards  Lady  Anne  CuUing-Smith,  with  her 
two  daughters,  Anne  CaroHne  and  Georgina  Fredericka  Fitzroy,  who 
was  afterwards  the  Lady  Worcester  of  Lawrence's  picture. 

But  it  is  not  only  in  the  Reception  Rooms  that  this  wealth  of  pictorial 
art  is  to  be  seen  ;  for  on  the  Staircase,  in  the  Vestibule,  the  Corridor, 
the  Entrance  Halls,  even  in  the  Basement,  a  number  of  works  hang  in 
bewildering  profusion  ;  battle  pieces  by  Courtois ;  genre  pictures  by  Peter 
de  Hoogh,  and  Caravaggio,  ("  The  Gamblers,"  once  belonging  to  Joseph 
Bonaparte)  ;  Haydon's  heroic  sketch  of  the  Duke  when  in  his  seventy-first 
year,  and,  particularly  noticeable,  Jan  Steen's  remarkable  "  Egg  Dance," 
which  WelHngton  purchased  at  the  Le  Rouge  sale,  in  1818,  for  ;^l2o! 

Among  these  contemporaries  we  find  here  and  there  older  historical 
figures  ;  Henri  Quatre,  with  his  pleasant  face — one  wonders  whether 
thinking  of  his  ideal  peasant  with  his  chicken  in  the  pot,  or  of  the 
beautiful  eyes  of  Gabrielle  d'Estr^es ;  the  Prince  de  Conde,  Rocroi 
hovering  in  our  thoughts,  and  Louis  XIV.'s  royal  word,  "  Don't  hurry, 
cousin ;  when  one  is  laden  with  laurels  one  cannot  walk  fast  "  ;  and  the 
"  Roi  Soleil  "  himself  in  all  the  glory  of  robe  and  wig  which  Thackeray 
so  wickedly  stripped  from  him  to  present  us  with  a  little,  bald-headed, 
weak-kneed   old   man,   hobbling   with   a   stick.       Here,   too,   is   another 


APSLEY   HOUSE  185 

Bourbon,  who  owed  so  much — his  kingdom,  perhaps  his  life — to  the  Duke 
— Charles  X.,  the  once  gay  Comte  d'Artois  of  Louis  Seize's  court.  This 
is  the  picture  which,  as  he  once  gazed  at  it,  gave  occasion  for  Wellington 
to  compare  its  subject  with  our  James  II.  ;  "  when  one  reads  Mazure's 
book,  one  is  much  struck  at  the  many  points  of  likeness,"  he  told  Lord 
Stanhope,  "  and  yet  what  is  very  curious  is — and  I  know  it  for  a  positive 
fact — that  they  ordered  the  book  to  be  written  on  purpose  to  show  that 
there  was  no  likeness  at  all."  ^  Other  portraits  of  the  various  monarchs 
of  Europe  who  all  owed  something  to  the  Duke  are  here,  and  half-a-dozen 
of  the  colossus — Napoleon — he  overthrew. 

In  the  Library,  nearly  all  the  wall-space  of  which  is  covered  by  book- 
cases containing  many  of  the  works  that  the  great  Duke  was  wont  to 
consult,  there  still  stands  the  oval-topped  writing  desk  at  which  he  sat 
and  penned  those  short  and  emphatic  notes,  or  as  often  sent  cheques 
and  bank-notes  to  deserving  cases,  part  of  that  splendid  generosity  of 
which  few  knew  the  extent  except,  perhaps,  Gurwood,  who  once  told 
Haydon  that  he  saw  the  great  man  sealing  up  envelope  after  envelope 
containing  money  which  was  to  bring  joy  to  many  a  starving  household. 
Lawrence's  portrait  of  the  third  Earl  Bathurst  hangs  in  the  Garden 
Room,  formerly  the  great  Duke's  bedroom  ;  in  the  Dining  Room  is 
that  of  Lady  Charlotte  Greville  by  Hoppner,  as  well  as  R.  Lawrence's 
sketch  of  the  Duke's  famous  charger,  "  Copenhagen,"  and  the  "  Storming 
of  Seringapatam  "  by  Stothard. 

The  great  English  sculptors  are  perhaps  better  represented  than  its 
painters  ;  for  example,  there  is  Steell's  bust  of  Wellington  himself ; 
Chantrey's  Castlereagh  and  Wellington  ;  Pitt  by  NoUekens,  as  well  as 
busts  of  Perceval,  Ponsonby,  Gurwood,  &c.  Canova  is  represented  by 
his  colossal  statue  of  Napoleon  which  stands  at  the  foot  of  the  staircase, 
and  which  the  Prince  Regent  presented  to  the  Duke,  in  1817.  Here  is 
that  extraordinary  man  in  an  apotheosis  of  glory — crowned  with  laurel, 
holding  in  one  hand  a  sceptre  and  in  the  other  a  figure  of  victory  !  Here 
he  stands  amidst  the  penates  of  one  who  tore  victory  from  his  grasp  and 
shattered  his  dream  of  dominion  !  Surely  others  besides  Waagen  in 
viewing  this  satire  on  earthly  greatness  have  been  "  filled  for  awhile  with 
melancholy  thoughts."  This  remarkable  work  is  eleven  feet  high,  and 
is  said,  with  the  exception  of  the  left  arm,  to  have  been  cut  from  a  single 
block  of  marble,  and  the  sculptor  was  able  to  cut  a  statuette  of  Hebe 
from  beneath  the  right  arm  of  the  figure  !  Another  example  of  Canova's 
work  is  the  bust  of  Pauline  Borghese — that  heroine  of  so  many  stories — 
whom  the  sculptor,  it  will  be  remembered,  considered  the  most  perfect 

'  Stanhopes  Conversations  with  Wellington. 


1 86     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

example  of  beauty  in  face  and  figure  then  alive.  Rauch's  great  statue 
of  Blucher  at  Breslau  is  here  to  be  seen  copied  in  little  ;  while  the 
same  sculptor's  bust  of  the  Emperor  Nicholas  also  stands  here.  Besides 
which  there  are  a  number  of  antique  busts  and  figures  ;  Marcus  Aurelius, 
and  Servianus ;  Alexander,  and  Lucius  Verus,  and  Vitellius,  to  mention 
but  these  ;  and  there  is  also  a  head  of  Charles  I.,  which  is  attributed  to 
Bernini. 

Many  of  the  most  interesting  and  valuable  artistic  treasures  preserved 
at  Apsley  House,  were  presents  to  the  great  Duke  from  the  various  sove- 
reigns of  Europe  and  others  who  recognised  how  much  their  safety  and 
that  of  their  peoples  was  due  to  his  consummate  mastery  in  the  art  of 
war.  Thus  the  magnificent  service  of  Sevres  came  from  Louis  XVIIL 
— perhaps  from  so  well-known  a  gastronome,  a  not  inappropriate  gift  ; 
the  Emperor  of  Austria  and  the  King  of  Prussia  both  helped  to  fill  the 
Duke's  China  Room  with  priceless  porcelain  ;  the  King  of  Saxony's  con- 
tribution was  a  magnificent  Dresden  dessert  service,  painted  with  scenes 
depicting  the  Duke's  victories  in  India,  the  Peninsula,  and  at  Waterloo. 
The  silver  plateau  which  the  Regent  of  Portugal,  on  behalf  of  the  people 
of  that  country,  sent  to  Wellington  is  no  less  than  thirty  feet  long  by 
as  many  wide,  and  is  lighted  by  lo6  wax  tapers  ;  while  the  Corporation 
of  London's  gift  took  the  appropriate  form  of  three  silver  candelabra — 
each  representing  a  foot  soldier  life  size.  Here,  too,  are  to  be  seen  the 
superb  Waterloo  vase  which  the  merchants  and  bankers  of  London  gave 
the  Duke,  and  more  noticeable  than  all  the  Wellington  shield — a  master- 
piece of  design  and  execution,  which  formed  a  national  gift,  and  was 
completed  in  1822,  at  a  cost  of  £jooo.  The  work,  as  is  well  known, 
was  designed  by  Stothard,  who  took  Flaxman's  shield  of  Achilles  as  a 
general  idea  for  the  design.  He  had  but  three  weeks  in  which  to  read 
up  the  history  of  Wellington's  campaigns  for  embodiment  in  the  scheme 
of  the  work,  and  his  biographer,  Mrs.  Bray,  well  says  that  "  to  any  other 
than  genius  of  the  highest  order,  perfected  by  long  practice,  the  task  to 
be  performed  in  so  short  a  time  would  have  been  impossible."  Stothard 
always  thought  that,  although  less  costly,  a  bronze  shield  would  have 
been  a  richer  and  more  classical  material  for  his  design  The  Duke  called 
on  the  artist  and  examined  his  drawings  and  the  etchings  he  had  made 
from  them,  and  he  both  carefully  analysed  each  design  and  made  such 
criticisms  as  they  suggested  to  him.  It  is  needless  to  expatiate  on  the 
history  of  these  designs,  nor  shall  I  give  any  minute  description  of  the 
shield,  as  such  descriptions  are  generally  not  only  tedious  but  very  frequently 
fail  to  convey  any  adequate  idea  of  the  subject  ;  but  I  may  at  least  state 
generally  the  nature  of  Stothard's  conception ;   which  was,  the  Duke  on 


APSLEY   HOUSE  187 

horseback  in  the  centre,  surrounded  by  his  more  illustrious  officers,  Fame 
crowning  the  hero,  and  at  his  feet  Anarchy,  Discord,  and  Tyranny  over- 
come. The  arrangement  by  which  the  evolutions  of  the  horses  within 
a  circle  are  arranged — all  emanating  from  the  centre — is  most  effective 
and  original.  The  border  of  the  shield  is  formed  in  ten  compartments 
— each  representing  a  salient  incident  in  the  Duke's  military  career. 
The  shield  is  3  feet  8  inches  in  diameter,  and  the  columns  which  stand 
by  its  side,  and  were  designed  by  Smirke,  stand  4  feet  3  inches  high. 

I  must  not  omit  to  mention  among  the  more  notable  presents  of 
which  the  Duke  was  the  recipient,  the  two  candelabra  of  Russian 
porphyry,  12  feet  high,  given  by  the  Emperor  Alexander,  and  the  pair 
of  vases  of  Swedish  porphyry  presented  by  the  King  of  Sweden.  But 
although  these  rich  and  beautiful  objects  cannot  fail  to  have  an  interest 
for  any  one  who  is  either  a  student  of  Wellington's  career,  or  a  lover  of 
art,  it  is  probable  that  the  chief  attractions  of  Apsley  House  will  be  found 
to  centre  in  the  almost  humble  private  apartments  of  the  great  Duke, 
and  the  Museum  where  the  more  personal  relics  associated  with  him 
are  preserved.  These  rooms,  in  1853,  were  thrown  open  to  the  public, 
as  remaining  then  in  the  exact  state  in  which  they  were  when  last  used 
by  Wellington  in  September  1852  ;  and  one  who  then  inspected  them 
tells  how  "  the  library  he  consulted,  the  books  he  kept  beside  him  for 
reference,  the  mass  of  papers,  maps,  and  documents,  even  to  the  latest 
magazine,  were  undisturbed."  This  is  the  room  in  which  Lord  EUesmere 
records  having  often  seen  the  Duke  sleeping  in  his  chair  amidst  a  chaos 
of  papers.  It  was  lined  with  book-cases  and  despatch-boxes  (for  we  must 
not  forget  that  if  he  was  Commander-in-Chief,  he  was  also  Prime 
Minister),  and  there  was  the  red  morocco  chair  in  which  he  worked — • 
and  slept,  as  we  have  seen  ;  and  an  upright  desk  at  which  he  stood  to 
write  ;  on  the  walls  hung  the  engravings  of  the  Duke — one  of  these 
probably  that  which  Lord  EUesmere,  writing  from  memory,  thought 
was  in  one  of  the  bedrooms,  in  which  Wellington  is  represented,  by  a 
Portuguese  artist  (it  was  taken  after  Talavera)  in  a  Portuguese  uniform 
with  hessian  boots  ;  the  other  by  Count  D'Orsay  when  he  was  an  old 
man,  and  a  Cosway  drawing  of  the  Countess  of  Jersey,  hanging  between 
medallions  of  Lady  Douro  (the  Duke's  daughter-in-law)  and  Jenny  Lind  ! 

In  the  Secretary's  Room  stood  an  object  of  great  interest  ;  the  rough 
unpainted  box,  which  had  been  with  the  Duke  in  all  his  campaigns,  and 
on  which  he  had  often  written  those  despatches  which  so  forcibly  attest 
the  lucidity  of  his  mind,  or  those  military  orders  which  led  to  so  many 
victories. 

The  small  bedroom,  approached  by  a  short  passage,  contained  little 


1 88     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

but  his  exiguous  bedstead  curtained  with  green  silk  hangings,  and  practi- 
cally its  sole  mural  decorations  were  an  unfinished  sketch  of  Lady  Douro, 
a  small  portrait  in  oils,  and  two  cheap  prints  of  military  men. 

In  the  Museum,  which  contains  many  of  the  articles  which  have 
already  been  mentioned,  such  as  the  gifts  of  foreign  sovereigns,  the 
Wellington  shield  and  the  great  candelabra,  are  a  number  of  glass-topped 
cases  in  which  are  arranged  the  swords,  batons,  and  the  innumerable 
orders,  belonging  to  the  Duke  ;  more  interesting  still,  perhaps,  his  two 
pairs  of  field  glasses,  the  cloak  which  he  wore  in  the  Peninsula  and  which 
is  almost  as  famous  as  Napoleon's  grey  coat ;  a  sword  which  once  belonged 
to  Napoleon  himself  ;  the  dress  which  Tippoo  Sahib  was  wearing  when 
he  was  captured ;  the  fine  "  George  "  set  with  diamonds  which  Queen 
Anne  had  given  to  Marlborough  and  which  George  IV.  in  turn  presented 
to  his  Marlborough,  and  innumerable  medals  struck  in  honour  of  the 
Duke  ;  as  well  as  the  identical  George  which  Charles  I.  gave  to  Bishop 
Juxon  on  the  scaffold,  to  mention  but  these. 

I  have  particularly  laid  stress  on  two  essential  points  of  interest  in 
Apsley  House  ;  the  chief  being  the  memory  of  the  great  man  with  whom 
it  will  always  be  indissolubly  connected  ;  the  other  the  superb  collection 
of  pictures  with  which  it  may  be  said,  without  exaggeration,  to  be  filled  ; 
but  it  need  hardly  be  remarked  that  besides  these  treasures,  every  room 
is  not  only  more  or  less  magnificent  in  decoration,  in  the  matter  of 
ceilings,  mantelpieces,  over-doors,  &c.,  but  also  contains  a  wealth  of 
beautiful  furniture  and  bric-d-brac,  which  both  add  to  their  splendour 
and  interest.^ 

In  the  relatively  small  grounds  at  the  back  of  Apsley  House,  the  great 
Duke  was  wont  to  walk,  and,  like  his  famous  rival,  Napoleon,  used 
occasionally  to  water  the  shrubs  with  a  hose ;  and  it  is  interesting  to  re- 
flect that,  perhaps,  there  were  occasions  when  the  great  protagonists  of 
Waterloo  might  each  have  been  employed  in  "  spouting  water  on  the 
trees  and  flowers  in  their  favourite  gardens,"  ^  at  an  identical  moment. 

'  A  Catalogue  Raisonne  of  the  pictures  at  Apsley  House  was  published  by  Mitchell,  of 
Bond  Street,  while  Evelyn,  Duchess  of  Wellington,  brought  out,  some  years  ago,  a  magnificent 
descriptive  catalogue,  profusely  illustrated,  in  two  volumes. 

-  Journal  of  the  Captivity  of  Napoleon. 


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I90     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES  OF   LONDON 

house  on  various  occasions  for,  before  Lord  Clarendon  took  it,  we  find  it 
fitted  up,  in  1664-65,  for  the  reception  of  the  French  Ambassador,  and 
Lord  Craven  residing  here  two  years  later.  In  1668,  however,  a  scheme 
was  on  hand  to  transfer  the  property  to  a  very  different  character,  for 
in  that  year  Charles  IL  purchased  it  for  Barbara  VilUers,  notorious  both 
as  Countess  of  Castlemaine  and  Duchess  of  Cleveland,  and  on  May  8th, 
the  gossiping  Pepys  is  able  to  state  that  she  "  is  to  go  to  Berkshire  House, 
which  is  taken  for  her,  and  they  say  a  Privy  Seal  is  passed  for  /5000 
for  it." 

That  very  accommodating  gentleman  who  from  plain  Roger  Palmer, 
Esq.,  was  elevated  into  Earl  of  Castlemaine  ^  in  1661,  resided  here  for 
about  a  year  with  the  lady  who  bore  his  name  ;  but  it  would  appear 
that  he  then  found  it  convenient  to  leave  her  in  sole  (though  anything 
but  solitary)  possession  of  her  new  plaything. 

Two  years  later  Lady  Castlemaine  was  created  Duchess  of  Cleveland, 
and  this  marks  the  period  at  which  the  name  of  Berkshire  House  was 
changed  to  that  of  its  new  mistress.  Of  this  notorious  personage  perhaps 
the  less  said  the  better  ;  her  baneful  influence  over  Charles  who,  to 
gratify  her  caprices  and  her  mania  for  gambling,  impoverished  an  ex- 
chequer that  was  always  at  a  low  ebb  ;  her  licentiousness,  which  com- 
pared not  unfavourably  with  that  of  Messilina  or  Faustine  ;  her  favoured 
lovers,  Jermyn  and  Churchill,  Chatillon  and  Montagu,  Goodman  and 
Hart  and  Hall,  the  players,  and  Fielding  the  beau  ;  her  covetousness 
and  her  temper,  are  these  not  all  written  in  the  diaries  and  memoirs  of 
the  period,  and  is  it  not  better  to  leave  the  unsavoury  record  in  the  decent 
interment  of  the  pages,  among  others,  of  Pepys  and  Evelyn,  the  latter 
of  whom  considered  that  Cleveland  House  was  "  far  too  good  for  that 
infamous  "  ? 

After  a  time  the  Duchess  found  Cleveland  House  and  its  large  gardens 
were  unnecessary  to  her,  or  perhaps  she  had  been  losing  heavily  at  Bassett 
— one  remembers  that  twenty-five  thousand  which  she  is  said  to  have 
lost  in  a  single  evening — and  found  it  impossible  to  cajole  Charles  into 
a  further  grant  ;  in  any  case  she  sold  a  portion  of  the  ground  towards 
St.  James's  Street,  and  several  houses  were  built  upon  it,  one  of  which 
was  inhabited  by  the  Earl  of  Nottingham,  one  of  those  Finches  (he  was 
Daniel,  second  Earl)  whose  swarthy  complexion  gave  point  to  their  nick- 
name of  the  "  black  funereal  finches,"  presumably  after  he  had  sold 
Nottingham  House  to  William  HL,  in  1691. 

On  the  death  of  the  Duchess,  in   1709,  Cleveland  House  passed  to 

'  He  died  in  1705,  a  little  less  than  a  year  before  the  Earl  of  Berkshire,  who  lived  to 
over  ninety. 


BRIDGEWATER   HOUSE  191 

her  son,  Charles  Fitzroy,  Duke  of  Cleveland  and  Southampton  who 
lived  here,  till  his  death  in  1730.  As  his  son  married,  in  the  following 
year,  a  daughter  of  the  Lord  Nottingham  mentioned  above,  it  is  probable 
that  the  proximity  of  their  parents'  homes  may  have  been  instrumental 
in  bringing  the  young  people  together.  The  second  Duke  did  not, 
however,  reside  at  Cleveland  House  after  the  death  of  his  father,  for 
on  that  event  taking  place,  the  house  was  purchased  by  Scroop  Egerton, 
first  Duke  of  Bridgewater,  a  forbear  of  its  present  owner.  He  was 
succeeded  in  the  title  and  occupancy  of  the  mansion,  which  was 
then  variously  known  as  Cleveland  House  and  Bridgewater  House,  by 
his  fourth  son,  who,  however,  lived  but  three  years  after  coming 
into  the  title  ;  when  his  brother  Francis  Egerton  succeeded  him,  in 
1748,  and  died  unmarried  in  1803.  It  was  he  who,  in  1795,  made  con- 
siderable alterations  to  the  house,  refacing  it,  &c.,  but  who  is  chiefly 
famous  for  that  remarkable  collection  of  pictures  which  he  brought 
together  and  which,  at  his  death,  was,  even  in  those  days  of  relatively 
small  prices,  valued  at  ^150,000. 

The  wonderful  taste  displayed  by  the  third  Duke  for  collecting  works 
of  art,  would  appear,  from  a  paper  written  by  Lord  Ellesmere,  in  the 
Quarterly  Review  for  March  1844,  to  have  had  its  genesis  in  the  Duke's 
early  associations  with  Robert  Wood,  an  art  critic  of  no  mean  order,  and 
an  active  member  of  the  Society  of  Dilettanti,  being  indeed  the  first 
director  of  its  archaeological  ventures.^  Certain  it  is  that,  to  quote 
Lord  Ellesmere's  words,  "  dining  one  day  with  his  nephew,  Lord  Gower, 
afterwards  Duke  of  Sutherland,  the  Duke  saw  and  admired  a  picture 
which  the  latter  had  picked  up  a  bargain  for  some  ^10,  at  a  broker's  in 
the  morning.  '  You  must  take  me,'  he  said,  '  to  that  d — d  fellow  to- 
morrow.' "  If  this  was  the  first  step  in  the  direction  of  picture  collecting, 
it  was  followed  up  with  an  assiduity  that  only  the  most  vital  interest, 
sound  judgment,  and  unlimited  means  could  have  rendered  possible  ; 
for  the  Duke  acquired  no  less  than  forty-seven  of  the  finest  pictures  from 
that  famous  gallery  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans  which  had  once  been  the 
wonder  and  envy  of  the  whole  artistic  world.^ 

The  noble  collection  thus  formed  was  left  by  the  Duke,  appropriately 
enough,  to  that  nephew  whose  taste  had  first  inspired  its  formation.  Earl 
Gower,  who  succeeded  his  father  as  the  second  Marquis  of  Stafford  a 
little  over  six  months  after  his  uncle's  death  in  1803,  and  who  was  created 

•  He  accompanied  Bouverie  and  Dawkins,  in  1750,  on  a  journey  of  exploration  into  Asia 
Minor,  and  joined  the  Society  in  1763.  He  and  Dawkins  published  works  on  the  ruins  of 
Baalbec  and  Palmyra.     He  died  in  1771. 

^  I  have  given  a  short  account  of  this  collection  and  its  vicissitudes  in  the  chapter  on 
Stafford  House. 


192    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Duke  of  Sutherland,  thirty  years  later,  only  shortly  before  his  own  death. 
During  his  possession  of  the  collection  it  was  known  as  the  Stafford 
Gallery,  and  an  elaborately  illustrated  description  of  the  pictures  was 
published  by  W.  J.  Ottley,  in  four  volumes,  with  that  title,  in  1818. 

A  clause  in  the  Duke  of  Bridgewater's  will  provided  for  the  reversion 
of  the  collection  to  Lord  Stafford's  second  son,  Lord  Francis  Egerton, 
who  was  created  Earl  of  Ellesmere,  in  1846,  and  who  it  will  be  remembered 
had  married,  in  1822,  Harriet  Catherine,  daughter  of  Charles  Greville, 
of  journal  fame.  A  delightful  little  biographical  notice  of  Lord  Ellesmere, 
which  his  daughter,  Alice  Countess  of  Stafford,  prefixed  to  his  Reminis- 
cences of  the  Duke  of  Wellington,  published  in  1903,  and  which  is  modestly 
termed  "  a  brief  memoir,"  is  quite  sufficient  to  indicate  the  charm 
of  his  character  and  the  extent  of  his  knowledge,  besides  incidentally 
showing  that  he  was  a  letter-writer  of  no  mean  order,  possessing  the  art 
of  vividly  depicting  scenes  and  events,  and  that  he  had  a  gift  of  humour 
which  enabled  him,  in  a  letter  from  Madrid  dealing  with  men  and  matters 
of  high  political  import,  to  gravely  conclude  with  "  I  have  no  events 
to  tell,  unless  it  interests  you  to  hear  that  Sir  William  a'Court  has  a  swelled 
face,  and  that  his  Secretary's  dog  has  had  a  severe  action  with  a  cat,  and 
was  obliged  to  retreat  with  the  loss  of  her  left  eye,  which  has  thrown 
a  damp  on  the  spirits  of  the  embassy  "  ;  the  latter  touch  being  quite 
in  the  Walpolian  manner.  Lord  EUesmere's  love  of  literature  and  faciUty 
as  a  linguist  are  remembered  by  his  translations  from  Goethe  and  Schiller, 
many  of  whose  noble  lines  he  rendered  into  forcible  and  easy  verse  ; 
his  ability  with  the  pencil  is  proved  by  the  sketchbooks  filled  with  the 
results  of  his  observations  in  many  lands  ;  he  was,  too,  an  ardent  sports- 
man ;  and  the  additions  he  made  to  the  famous  collection  which  he 
had  inherited  shows  that  his  love  of  art  was  hardly  less  pronounced  than 
that  of  his  father  or  great-uncle.  In  1833  he  entered  into  possession  of 
Bridgewater  House  ;  and  it  was  he  who,  some  years  later,  rebuilt  the 
old  mansion.  It  would  appear  that  there  was  at  first  a  design  to  add 
to  the  original  structure  and  probably  to  encase  it,  but  such  restoration 
was  found  impossible  from  the  fact  that  dry  rot  had  so  penetrated  the 
whole  place  that  nothing  short  of  complete  rebuilding  was  practicable. 
The  work  was  undertaken,  under  the  superintendence  of  Sir  Charles 
Barry,  and  during  its  progress  Lord  Ellesmere  rented  No.  18  Belgrave 
Square,  now  the  headquarters  of  the  Austro-Hungarian  Embassy. 

The  rebuilding  of  Bridgewater  House  occupied  many  years,  but  it 
was  practically  completed  in  1849,^  as  an  inscription  above  the  entrance 

'  The  Builder  for  October  3,  1849,  contained  a  short  account  of  the  rebuilding,  together 
with  a  ground  plan  of  the  mansion. 


BRIDGEWATER   HOUSE  193 

states.  There  is  no  doubt  but  that  the  better  accommodation  of  the 
pictures  was  the  chief  reason  for  this  vast  work  being  undertaken.  Dr. 
Waagen  was,  however,  disappointed  with  the  lighting  of  the  gallery, 
but  we  must  remember,  also,  that  he  found  fault  with  the  architecture, 
considering  Barry  less  happy  in  dealing  with  the  Italian  than  with  the 
Gothic  style  ;  and  he  even  goes  so  far  as  to  say  that  "  in  the  taste  of 
the  forms  and  decorations,"  it  is  inferior  to  its  "  stately  neighbour," 
Stafford  House  !  But,  if  he  is  thus  adversely  critical  over  the  mansion 
itself,  his  enthusiasm  for  the  pictorial  contents  is  shown  not  only  by  the 
space  he  allots  to  their  consideration,  but  also  by  the  fact,  that  of  all  the 
great  private  galleries  in  London,  it  is  that  of  Bridgewater  House  which 
he  deals  with  first  after  the  Royal  collection. 

Before  I  attempt  to  say  anything  about  the  pictures  and  other 
beautiful  contents  of  the  house,  I  may  give  a  few  details  as  to  the  build- 
ing itself.  Thus  it  is  nearly  a  square,  the  west  fa9ade  measuring  I20  feet, 
while  the  south  front  is  about  20  feet  longer  ;  and  although  it  has  out- 
wardly the  appearance  of  a  solid  block,  the  interior  is  broken  by  two 
courts  which  help  to  give  additional  light  and  air.  The  rooms  are 
arranged  with  that  regard  for  personal  comfort  combined  with  adapta- 
bility to  stately  functions  which  is  a  common  attribute  to  most  of  the 
great  houses  of  London.  The  state  apartments  are  on  the  first  floor, 
while  the  great  gallery  faces  north  and,  indeed,  extends  the  whole  length 
of,  and  a  little  beyond,  the  mansion  on  that  side. 

I  am  confronted  with  no  ordinary  difficulty  in  dealing  with  this  great 
collection,  the  adequate  description  of  which  would  require  a  large  volume. 
My  scheme  is  not  to  give  a  catalogue  raisonni  of  the  various  galleries 
which  are  mentioned  in  this  work,  neither  do  \,  on  the  other  hand,  desire 
to  pass  them  by  with  a  bald  note  of  subject  and  painter,  for  this  is  what 
we  can  find  in  a  guide-book.  A  plethora  of  adjectives  is  also  less 
exhilarating  to  the  reader  than  to  the  writer,  who  when  he  sets  down 
the  words  "  beautiful,"  "  grand,"  or  "  magnificent  "  connects  with 
those  terms  the  perfect  drawing  and  colouring  of  some  work  which  they 
conjure  up  to  his  mind's  eye.  All,  I  think,  therefore,  that  I  can  do  is 
to  refer  generally  to  some  of  the  most  remarkable  of  the  treasures  as  they 
hang  in  the  various  rooms,  and  although  this  method  is  a  tantalising  one, 
and  is  apt  to  whet  the  appetite  of  the  reader,  he  may  solace  himself  with 
the  consolation  that  the  noble  owner  is  not  averse  from  granting  per- 
mission to  view  the  gallery,  where  a  proper  introduction  is  forthcoming. 

I  may  here  state  that  the  number  of  pictures  in  Bridgewater  House 
is  over  400,  including  the  47  from  the  Orleans  Gallery,  but  excluding 
150  original  drawings  by  the  Caracci,  and  80  by  Guiho  Romano,  which 

N 


194     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

the  first  Earl  of  Ellesmere  purchased  in  1836,  from  the  "princely  collec- 
tion," as  Smith  termed  it,  of  Sir  Thomas  Lawrence. 

The  great  Hall  in  the  centre  of  Bridgewater  House  is  surrounded  on 
the  first  floor  by  an  arcaded  corridor,  in  the  Italian  style,  supported  by 
massive  pillars  of  green  scagliola  marble,  and  in  this  gallery  hang  works  by 
Nicholas  Poussin,  and  Andrea  del  Sarto,  "  the  faultless  painter,"  besides 
productions  by  lesser  masters,  as  well  as  some  frescoes  from  Cicero's  Villa  at 
Tusculum,  and  much  interesting,  but  chiefly  modern,  sculpture. 

Poussin  is  represented  by  the  famous  "  Seven  Sacraments,"  which 
were  executed  at  Rome  for  M.  Chantelou,  and  represent  the  sacraments 
according  to  the  Roman  Ritual,  viz.,  Baptism,  Confirmation,  Marriage, 
Penance,  Ordination,  the  Last  Supper,  and  Extreme  Unction.  The 
painter  worked  at  these  subjects  twice,  the  first  set  being  undertaken, 
about  the  year  1636,  for  his  patron,  the  Cavaliere  del  Pozzo,  and  are 
now  at  Belvoir,  having  been  purchased  by  the  Duke  of  Rutland  on  the 
advice  of  Sir  Joshua  Reynolds.  Walpole  in  a  letter  to  Lady  Ossory 
(Dec.  I,  1786)  mentions  seeing  them  at  Sir  Joshua's,  and  liking  them 
better  than  when  he  had  before  seen  them  in  Rome.  "  *  There  are  two 
of  Baptism,'  says  he.  Sir  Joshua  said,  '  What  could  he  mean  by  paint- 
ing two  ?  '     I  said,  '  I  concluded  the  second  was  Anabaptism.' " 

The  set  at  Bridgewater  House  are  on  a  larger  scale  than  their  pre- 
decessors, and  the  first  to  be  finished  (in  1644)  was,  curiously  enough, 
the  last  of  the  series  ;  ^  the  "  Marriage  "  being  the  last  painted,  and 
finished  four  years  later.  On  M.  Chantelou's  death,  the  Duke  of  Orleans 
bought  them  for  120,000  francs  ;  and  when  the  Duke's  collection  was 
brought  to  England  they  were  valued  at  ^4900,  at  which  figure  the 
Duke  of  Bridgewater  secured  them.  Waagen  considers  that  the  "  Con- 
firmation," "  Baptism,"  and  "  Marriage,"  are  the  most  remarkable  of 
them,  and  although  Poussin's  mannerisms  are  noticeable  throughout  the 
series,  and  faults  have  been  pointed  out  even  in  the  best  of  these  seven 
pictures,  still  they  may  be  reckoned  as  among  his  greatest  works. 

There  is  another  Nicholas  Poussin  here,  "  Moses  Striking  the  Rock," 
from  the  same  collection  as  the  "  Seven  Sacraments,"  of  which  FeUbien 
thus  speaks  :  "  II  fit  pour  M.  de  Gillier,  qui  etait  aupres  du  Mareschal 
de  Crequy,  cet  excellent  ouvrage  ou  Moyse  frappe  le  Rocher,  et  qui  apres 
avoir  et6  dans  les  cabinets  de  M.  de  L'Isle  Sourdiere,  du  President  de 
Bellievre,  de  M.  de  Dreux,  est  aujourd'hui  (1688)  un  des  plus  considerables 
tableaux  que  I'on  voye   parmi  ceux  du  Marquis   de   Seignelai."     There 

'  On  the  other  hand,  Felibien  states  that  the  Eucharist,  executed  in  1644,  was  the  first  to 
be  completed,  and  was  the  one  most  esteemed  by  the  painter. 


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196     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

of  the  Duke  of  Bracciano,  and  thence  into  that  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans 
from  whom  the  Duke  of  Bridgewater  bought  it  for  £600  ! 

Of  the  pictures  by  the  two  Caracci  represented  in  the  gallery  a 
noticeable  one  by  Ludovico  is  "  The  Descent  from  the  Cross,"  which 
was  once  in  the  collection  of  the  Duke  of  Modena,  and  afterwards  in 
that  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans,  and  which  cost  the  Duke  of  Bridgewater  but 
400  guineas  ;  while  of  the  four  by  Annibale,  the  most  important  is  the 
"  St.  Gregory  at  Prayer,"  which  was  painted  for  Cardinal  Salviati,  as  an 
altar-piece  for  San  Gregorio,  at  Rome,  whence  it  was  somehow  purchased 
by  Mr.  Day,  at  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century.  A  few  years  later 
it  was  publicly  exhibited  in  London,  and  was  bought  by  Lord  Radstock, 
from  whose  gallery  it  passed  into  that  of  Lord  Stafford,  whence  it  came 
into  the  Bridgewater  House  collection.  It  is  interesting  to  know  that 
a  pious  fraud  was  perpetrated  in  order  to  get  it  secretly  out  of  Italy, 
which  was  effected  by  painting  over  it,  in  water  colour,  a  copy  of  a 
picture  by  Guido  Reni.  Another  noticeable  Annibale  Caracci  is  "  The 
Virgin  and  Child,  with  St.  Francis,"  once  in  the  collection  of  M.  de 
Launoy,  and  later  one  of  the  Orleans  pictures. 

Of  the  fine  works  by  Tintoretto  in  the  collection,  four,  including 
"  The  Entombment,"  hang  in  the  gallery.  This  work  was  formerly 
at  Madrid  whence  it  passed  to  the  Orleans  Gallery,  being  purchased 
by  the  Duke  of  Bridgewater  for  600  guineas.  It  is  said,  by  Mrs.  Jameson, 
that  there  was  formerly  an  angel  in  the  upper  part  of  the  picture,  but 
that  the  canvas  has  been  cut  down  for  some  reason  or  other.  Not  far 
off  hangs  also  the  same  master's  "  Presentation  in  the  Temple,"  from  the 
Orleans  Gallery  ;  his  portrait  of  a  gentleman  holding  a  book,  from  the 
same  collection  ;  and  another  portrait  of  a  Venetian  nobleman,  dated 
1583,  which  has,  however,  also  been  ascribed  to  Marietta  Tintoretto,  the 
daughter  of  the  great  Jacopo. 

Salvator  Rosa  is  represented  in  the  gallery  by  his  "  Jacob  Watering 
his  Flock."  This  was  one  of  the  works  which  Sir  Paul  Methuen  pur- 
chased in  Italy,  on  behalf  of  the  Duke  of  Bridgewater ;  but  the  pigments 
have  turned  so  black  that  the  picture  has  lost  what  of  original  charm  and 
beauty  it  may  have  possessed.  It  is  signed  "  Rosa,"  and  was  engraved 
in  the  "  Stafford  Gallery."  Two  other  works  by  the  same  painter  hang 
respectively  on  the  staircase,  and  in  one  of  the  sitting-rooms  ;  the  first 
being  "A  Riposo,"  a  signed  picture  of  remarkable  power,  which  was  added 
to  the  collection  by  the  Earl  of  Ellesmere  ;  and  "  A  View  in  a  Wild 
and  Mountainous  Country,"  once  belonging  to  the  Due  de  Prashn,  and 
formerly  known  as  "  Les  Augures." 

A   R.embrandt   in   the   Picture   Gallery   represents   Hannah   and   the 


BRIDGEWATER   HOUSE  197 

child  Samuel,  according,  at  least,  to  Michel  who  ought  to  know,  although 
this  attribution  of  subject  I  have  elsewhere  seen  described  as  "  absurd," 
on  the  ground  that  the  picture  merely  indicates  a  child  praying  at  an 
old  woman's  ^  knee,  and  it  has  been  variously  called  "  Samuel  and  Eli," 
"  The  Mother  and  Child,"  &c.  This  small  and  exquisite  picture 
measures  but  i/f  in.  by  13!  in.  and  is  signed,  and  dated  1648.  It  has 
been  in  the  De  Flines,  De  Roore,  and  Julienne  collections  before  finding 
its  present  resting-place.  The  beauty  of  the  execution  and  the  delicacy 
of  the  chiaroscuro  have  been  recorded  by  Rembrandt's  biographers, 
and  although  the  colour  has  somewhat  deteriorated,  it  is  worthy  of  the 
year  in  which  the  master  produced  the  Pacification  of  Holland,  at 
Rotterdam,  and  the  perfect  "  Supper  at  Emmaus  "  which  hangs  in  the 
Louvre. 

Of  the  six  examples  of  Rembrandt,  in  Bridgewater  House,  three 
besides  the  one  just  referred  to,  hang  in  the  gallery ;  one,  a  study  for  the 
portrait  of  a  man,  is  described  by  Smith  ;  another,  a  portrait  of  the 
painter  himself,  signed,  and  dated  1659,  formerly  belonged  to  Lady 
Holdernesse,  at  whose  sale  it  was  purchased  in  1802  ;  while  the  third, 
an  earlier  work,  said  to  have  been  painted  in  1632,  represents  the  portrait 
of  a  lady,  and  was  once  in  the  collection  of  the  Comte  de  Merle,  and 
M.  Destouches. 

Concerning  the  wonderful  assemblage  of  works  by  the  Dutch  masters 
that  adds  to  the  catholicity  of  the  Picture  Gallery,  it  is  obviously  im- 
possible to  speak  in  any  detail ;  here  is  Ostade's  "  Lawyer  in  his  Study,"  the 
figure  of  the  man  of  law  being  the  same  as  that  introduced  into  another 
work  by  the  same  painter  representing  a  lawyer  perusing  a  document  while 
his  client  stands  by  holding  in  his  hand  an  acceptable  present  of  game,  a 
picture  signed  and  dated  1671,  and  formerly  in  the  Fagel  gallery  ;  here  is 
a  superb  Metsu,  a  "  Mounted  Cavalier  "  halting  at  the  door  of  a  mansion  and 
receiving  a  glass  of  wine  from  the  lady  of  the  house,  which  Smith  describes 
fully  in  his  Catalogue  Raisonne,  and  which  was  formerly  in  the  Lubbeling, 
and  Wretsou  collections  ;  here,  too,  is  the  well  known,  and  much  engraved 
portrait  of  the  artist  in  his  study,  playing  on  the  violin,  by  Gerard  Dou, 
dated  1637,  and  probably  one  of  the  finest  examples  of  the  master  in 
existence.  Spiering,  the  Swedish  Ambassador,  purchased  this  picture  from 
the  artist  and  presented  it  to  Christina,  Queen  of  Sweden,  who,  however, 
in  1654,  returned  it  to  the  donor,  in  whose  collection  Sandrart  saw  it  ; 
later,  it  was  for  many  years  in  the  possession  of  the  family  of  Mr. 
Ladbrooke,  of  Portland  Place  ;  and  lastly,  for  I  must  unfortunately  stop 
somewhere,  here  is  an  "  Interior  of  a  Cottage  "  by  a  master  little  known 

'  Not  improbably  the  painter's  mother. 


198     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

in  this  country,  though  highly  thought  of  in  his  own,  Cornehs  Bega, 
executed  with  a  degree  of  finish  that  is  rather  akin  to  the  enamels  of 
Petitot  than  to  the  more  stubborn  medium  of  oil  painting.  Bega  was 
Ostade's  ablest  pupil,  and  if  not  his  equal  in  breadth  certainly  his  superior 
in  finish,  his  work  recalling  the  achievements  in  minute  detail  painting, 
of  such  men  as  Metsu  and  Mieris. 

In  the  North  Drawing  Room  is  an  example  of  a  rare  master — Ary 
de  Voys,  representing  a  young  man  with  a  book,  signed  A  de  Vols  F. 
The  name  of  this  painter  will  be  unfamiliar,  I  suspect,  to  many  even 
of  those  whose  excursions  into  the  study  of  art  are  something  more  than 
merely  superficial.  Ary  de  Voys,  or  Vois,  born  at  Leyden  in  1641,  appears 
to  have  been  of  an  impressionable  temperament,  for  he  is  known  to  have 
copied  in  turn  the  manner  of  Knuifer,  Tempel,  and  Slingelandt,  as  he 
afterwards  did  that  of  Poelemberg,  Brouwer,  and  Teniers.  By  a  marriage 
with  an  heiress  he  seemed  likely  to  lose  what  chance  of  fame  he  already 
possessed,  but  after  three  years  of  idleness,  he  returned  to  his  former 
studious  habits  without  any  deterioration  being  perceptible  in  his  work 
which  generally  represented  stories  from  the  mythology  ;  although  he  not 
infrequently  painted  portraits,  and  what  were  termed  "  conversation 
pieces."  His  pictures  sold  at  high  prices  and  there  was  a  great  demand 
for  them,  but  he  appears  to  have  been  somewhat  indolent  during  his  later 
years,  which  accounts  for  the  scarcity  of  his  productions.  He  died,  in  his 
native  town,  in  1698. 

Among  other  pictures  of  the  Dutch  school  which  hang  in  the  North 
Drawing  Room,  there  is  a  beautiful  little  Terburg — "  Paternal  Instruction," 
which  has  passed  through  various  well-known  collections,  such  as  the 
Lubbeling,  Beaujon,  Proley,  and  Wharncliife  ;  a  David  Tenier — a  highly 
characteristic,  full  and  joyous  canvas  ;  one  of  Van  de  Heyden's  views 
of  a  "  Town  in  Holland  "  ;  and  a  Mieris,  representing  a  lady  seated  at 
her  toilet — one  of  those  works  whose  executive  skill  would  seem  almost 
superhuman,  were  there  anything  beyond  mere  marvellous  technique  in 
this  painter's  productions. 

Ostade,  Gerard  Dou,  Van  der  Neer,  Swanevelt,  Jan  Both,  Netscher, 
Metsu,  and  Berghem  are  also  represented  in  this  room,  and  here  may 
also  be  seen  in  a  strange  conjunction,  Murillo  and  Hogarth,  Velasquez, 
Pietro  da  Cortona,  and  Sassoperrato  !  The  Pietro  da  Cortona,  "  Shep- 
herds Adoring  the  Infant  Christ,"  is  curious  as  being  painted  on  slate ; 
while  a  somewhat  similar  picture  to  Sassoperrato's  "  Head  of  a  Madonna," 
but  showing  the  hands,  which  that  at  Bridgewater  House  does  not,  is  in 
the  National  Gallery.     The  Hogarth  and  two  of  the  Velasquezs  (for  there 


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BRIDGE  WATER   HOUSE  199 

are  three  in  this  room)  represent  portraits  of  the  painters  themselves  ;  the 
third  composition  of  the  great  Spaniard  is  a  portrait  of  a  natural  son  of 
the  famous  minister  the  Duke  d'Olivarez,  whose  story  is  told  by  Le  Sage 
at  the  conclusion  of  Gil  Bias,  as  readers  of  that  amusing  work  will 
remember.  The  picture  was  purchased  by  the  Earl  of  Ellesmere  from 
the  collection  of  the  Count  Altamira. 

The  first  room  (The  Sitting  Room)  we  enter  on  the  ground  floor 
has  the  unique  distinction  among  the  apartments  of  the  great  London 
houses  of  containing  no  less  than  four  works  by  Raphael.  Let  us  loiter 
a  moment  before  each  of  them  before  turning  to  the  other  treasures 
with  which  the  room  is  filled. 

Perhaps  the  most  fascinating  is  the  circular  picture  known  as  "  La 
Vierge  au  Palmier,"  which  dates  from  the  master's  Florentine  period, 
and  is  traditionally  supposed  to  have  been  executed  for  Taddeo  Gaddi, 
in  1506.  Muntz  brackets  it  with  the  "Holy  Family  with  the  Lamb,"  at 
Madrid,  as  departing  from  the  earlier  methods  of  the  painter  when 
depicting  the  Virgin ;  "  while,"  adds  this  authority,  "  it  has  all  the 
Florentine  charm,  it  has  also  the  gravity  which  marks  the  Madonna 
of  the  Roman  period,"  and  he  points  out  that  Joseph  instead  of  being 
subordinated  is  brought  into  prominence  by  being  made  a  principal  figure 
in  the  group,  as  he  presents  to  the  infant  Jesus  the  flowers  which  he  has 
just  picked.  There  is  a  curious  story  told  of  this  work — indeed  the  Duke 
of  Orleans,  its  former  possessor,  is  said  to  have  related  it  to  Lord  Stafford 
himself.  It  appears  that  the  picture  before  becoming  the  property  of  the 
Duke  of  Orleans,  had  been  left  to  two  old  ladies,  who  could  neither  of 
them  decide  to  let  the  other  have  entire  possession  of  it,  and  if  it  can  be 
believed,  they  actually  cut  the  picture  in  half  !  The  two  pieces,  luckily, 
came  together  again,  and  Hazlitt  states  that  the  join  may  still  be  dis- 
tinguished "  passing  from  the  bottom  of  the  picture  right  through  the 
body  of  the  child,  and  close  to  the  forehead  of  the  Virgin."  The  work 
subsequently  came  into  the  hands  of  the  Count  de  Chiverni,  from 
whom  it  passed  to  the  Marquis  d'Aumont.  Later  it  was  sold  to  M.  de 
la  Noue  for  5000  francs,  the  purchaser  also  being  obliged  to  furnish 
the  Marquis  with  a  copy  by  Phihppe  de  Champagne.  At  a  still  later 
date  it  was  in  the  galleries  successively  of  Tambonneau  and  M.  de  Vanolles, 
from  the  latter  of  whom  the  Duke  of  Orleans  purchased  it.  The  valua- 
tion set  on  it  when  bought  by  the  Duke  of  Bridgewater,  among  the 
Orleans  pictures,  was  ^1200  ! 

Another  Raphael,  known  as  the  "  Bridgewater  Madonna,"  also  from 
the  Orleans  collection,  hangs,  as  Hazlitt  said  it  always  ought  to  do,  close 


200     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

to  the  "  Vierge  au  Palmier,"  "  so  sweetly  do  they  set  off  and  illustrate 
each  other."  A  curious  thing  is  that  both  the  Virgin  and  Child  in  each 
picture  have  identically  the  same  faces,  although  executed  at  different 
periods,  by  which  it  would  seem  that  the  same  models  were  used,  or 
that  one  of  the  works  must  have  been  painted,  so  far  at  least  as  the  faces 
were  concerned,  from  the  other.  The  latter  seems  the  more  probable 
solution,  especially  as  there  exist  several  versions  of  the  "  Vierge  au 
Palmier,"  which  were  apparently  copied  at  the  same  time.  This  picture, 
while  in  the  Orleans  possession,  was  subjected  to  the  hazardous  opera- 
tion of  transference  from  panel  to  canvas,  which  no  doubt  accounts  for 
its  somewhat  inferior  condition.  It  dates  from  151 2,  and  was  brought 
from  Italy  by  Colbert,  the  son  of  the  great  Minister.  It  passed  into 
the  Orleans  collection  from  a  M.  Ronde,  a  jeweller,  to  whom  it  had 
been  transferred  by  M.  de  Montarsis,  who  had  purchased  it  from  the 
Marquis  of  Seignelay,  the  son  of  Colbert.  When  the  Duke  of  Bridge- 
water  bought  it,  its  value  was  estimated  at  ^'3000,  which,  ridiculous 
as  such  a  sum  now  appears,  is,  when  compared  to  the  ^^1200  set  against 
the  "  Vierge  au  Palmier,"  a  relatively  heavy  price. 

The  third  Raphael  is  a  perfect  work  in  the  master's  best  manner. 
It  is  called  "  La  Madonna  del  Passagio,"  and  represents  the  Holy  Family 
walking  in  a  green  landscape.  Passavant  and  Kugler  have  thrown  doubts 
on  the  authenticity  of  this  work,  and  have  ascribed  it  rather  to  the  brush 
of  Francesco  Penni  ;  and  Waagen  agrees  with  this  judgment,  although 
he  does  not  consider  it  the  work  of  Penni.  Hazlitt,  on  the  other  hand, 
goes  so  far  as  to  regard  it  "  as  pure  and  perfect  a  specimen  as  exists  of 
his  (Raphael's)  finest  manner,"  and  Mrs.  Jameson  concurs  with  this 
verdict.  What  seems  to  point  to  its  being  an  original  work  is  the  fact 
that  Philip  II.  of  Spain  gave  it  to  the  Duke  of  Urbino,  who  in  turn  pre- 
sented it  to  the  Emperor  Rudolph  II.,  and  we  can  hardly  imagine  a  mere 
copy  being  passed  among  sovereigns  as  a  valuable  present.  Then  again 
Gustavus  Adolphus  made  a  point  of  carrying  it  off  from  Prague  after 
his  capture  of  that  city,  to  Sweden,  and  when  it  passed  to  his  daughter 
Queen  Christina  it  was  generally  regarded  as,  without  doubt,  a  genuine 
work ;  and  when  she  abdicated  and  went  to  reside  at  Rome  she  took  it 
with  her.  At  her  death  it  passed  by  bequest  to  her  favourite,  Azzolini, 
and  it  was  afterwards  purchased  by  the  Duke  of  Bracciano  from  whose 
collection  it  passed  into  that  of  the  Regent  of  Orleans ;  and  subsequently 
the  Duke  of  Bridgewater  bought  it  for  ^3000.  It  has  thus  a  pedigree 
that  should  differentiate  it  from  the  many  copies  that  are  known  to 
have  been  executed,  and  which  may  be  seen  at  Rome,  Naples,  Milan, 
and  Vienna. 


BRIDGEWATER   HOUSE  201 

The  fourth  Raphael,  "  La  Vierge  au  Linge,"  is  not  improbably  a 
replica  of  the  picture  in  the  Louvre  ;  it  is  so  called  from  the  fact  that 
in  it  appears  a  white  line  near  the  neck,  indicating  an  inner  bodice, 
which  does  not  show  in  the  picture  in  Paris.  It  has  also  been  called 
"  The  Virgin  with  the  Diadem,"  and  it  possesses  an  extraneous  interest 
from  the  fact  that  it  was  once  in  the  possession  of  Sir  Joshua  Reynolds. 

Raphael  dwarfs  everything ;  but  even  were  he  not  represented  so 
richly,  there  is,  in  the  Sitting  Room  alone,  material  for  a  small 
but  carefully  chosen  collection  ;  for  here  are  pictures  by  the  two 
Caracci,  Correggio,  Domenichino,  Guido  Reni,  Salvator  Rosa,  Palma 
Vecchio,  and  Luini ;  to  say  nothing  of  the  works  of  lesser  masters,  which 
also  hang  on  the  walls  in  bewildering  profusion.  Annibale  Caracci 
is  represented  by  two  canvases  ;  one,  "  St.  John  pointing  to  the  Messiah," 
was  originally  in  the  gallery  of  the  Duke  of  Parma,  and  passing  into  that 
of  M.  Paillot,  came  into  the  hands  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans  ;  the  other, 
"  Christ  on  the  Cross,"  was  painted  before  the  artist  went  to  Rome, 
and  is  engraved  in  the  "  Stafford  Gallery."  The  Ludovico  Caracci,  is 
that  painter's  copy  of  Correggio's  "  Marriage  of  Saint  Catherine,"  a 
subject  Caracci  treated  himself  in  the  picture  hanging  on  the  staircase  ; 
while  of  the  two  Correggios,  one  represents  "  The  Virgin  and  Child," 
which,  when  it  hung  in  the  Orleans  Gallery,  was  known  as  "  La  Vierge 
au  panier  "  ;  ^  the  other,  a  "  Head  of  Christ,"  which  was  bought  by  the 
Earl  of  Ellesmere  from  a  private  collection  at  Rome,  in  1840. 

The  Claude,  which  is  numbered  loi  in  the  Liber  Veritatis,  and  is 
described  by  Smith  in  his  Catalogue  Raisonn^,  shows  one  of  those  pastoral 
landscapes  in  which,  for  tone  and  atmosphere,  the  painter  excelled  all  other 
masters  but  one.  Another  landscape,  executed,  however,  in  a  very  different 
manner,  is  the  view  in  a  wild  and  mountainous  country  which  Salvator 
Rosa  gives  us  ;  the  principal  feature  in  which  composition  is  supposed  to 
represent  the  promontory,  known  as  the  Rock  of  Lisbon,  at  the  mouth  of 
the  Tagus. 

The  two  works  by  Domenichino  are  "  Christ  bearing  the  Cross," 
which  once  belonged  to  Colbert's  son,  the  Marquis  de  Seigneley,  before 
it  passed  into  the  Orleans  collection ;  and  "  The  Vision  of  St.  Francis," 
which  was  formerly  in  the  gallery  of  M.  Paillot. 

But  this  enumeration  is  becoming  too  much  in  the  nature  of  a  guide 
book.  Let  me  but  point  out  the  beautiful  little  picture  (one  of  the 
two  here)  by  Guido ;  "  The  Infant  Saviour  asleep  on  the  Cross,"  before 
we  take  an  unwilling  leave  of  this  room  and  its  priceless  treasures. 

'  This  picture  has  been  transferred  from  panel  to  canvas.     It  has  also  been  attributed  to 
Schidone. 


202     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

In  the  Drawing  Room  hangs  a  "  Portrait  of  a  Venetian  Nobleman," 
by  Tintoretto,  painted  in  1588,  and  once  in  the  Orleans  collection.  It 
was  said  of  this  master  that  sometimes  he  was  as  great  as  Titian,  at  others 
less  than  Tintoretto  ;  as  we  gaze  at  this  noble  conception  and  note  its 
rich  and  warm  colouring,  and  its  admirable  modelling,  there  will  be 
little  doubt,  I  think,  to  which  of  these  phases  it  should  be  traced. 

Here,  too,  hangs  one  example  of  Reynolds  ;  the  portrait  in  question 
being  now  generally  supposed  to  be  that  of  Mrs.  Trecothick,  the  wife 
of  Lord  Mayor  Trecothick,  who  succeeded  the  redoubtable  Beckford  in 
that  office,  and  whom  Sir  Joshua  painted  in  1 770-1.  When  this  picture 
was  purchased  by  Lord  EUesmere,  it  was,  however,  supposed  to  repre- 
sent Lady  Montague.  Though  what  Lady  Montague,  I  don't  know, 
seeing  that  Reynolds  only  painted  Lady  Caroline  Montagu  as  a  child, 
and  Ladies  Elizabeth  and  Henrietta  Montagu  together  in  a  group,  and 
so  far  as  I  can  gather  from  his  list  of  sitters  no  Lady  Montague  at  all.^ 

In  the  same  room,  besides  a  number  of  smaller  works  by,  among  others, 
Gonzales  Coques,  Paul  Bril,  Jan  Both,  Largilli^re,  Hans  Holbein,  Paul 
Moreelse,  and  Van  der  Velde,  and  a  beautiful  picture  of  a  young  girl 
threading  a  needle,  by  Nicholas  Maes,  which  I  think  I  would  as  soon 
possess  as  any  of  the  more  notable  pictures  here,  there  is  a  remarkable 
Rembrandt  ;  a  "  Portrait  of  a  Burgomaster,"  showing  us  an  old  man 
with  a  snowy  beard,  seated  in  a  chair.  The  picture  is  signed,  and  dated 
1637,  and  was  formerly  in  the  collection  of  M.  Geldermeester,  whence 
it  was  bought,  by  Mr.  Bryan,  for  the  Duke  of  Bridgewater.  Two  other 
works,  by  Dutch  masters,  at  Bridgewater  House,  are  also  worth  careful 
attention ;  Paul  Potter's  "  Cattle  in  a  Meadow,"  dated  1650 ;  and 
particularly  Cuyp's  "  View  of  the  Maese  near  Dort,"  in  which  is  intro- 
duced Maurice,  Prince  of  Orange  and  his  suite,  in  a  boat,  on  their  way 
to  review  the  Dutch  iieet.  This  beautiful  picture  came  from  the  Slinge- 
landt  collection  at  Dort,  and  Waagen  says  no  more  than  the  truth  when 
he  exclaims  in  an  ecstasy,  that  "  it  looks  as  if  the  painter  had  dipped 
his  brush  in  light  to  express  the  play  of  the  sunbeams,  which  have  dis- 
persed the  morning  mist  upon  the  waters "  ;  the  spectator  will,  on 
examining  the  picture  be  as  astonished  as  was  the  critic,  at  the  free  and 
masterly  way  in  which  the  effects  are  produced,  and  particularly  the 
limpid  transparency  of  the  water  attained.  There  are  other  fine  examples 
of  Cuyp  at  Bridgewater  House,  but  they  have  not  that  something  which 
goes  to  make  the  "  View  of  the  Maese  "  a  work  of  genius. 

I  have  mentioned  one  Reynolds  in  this  collection  ;  two  other  works 
by  the  same  great  master  hang  in  the  State  Drawing  Room,  one  of  these 
'  See  Leslie  and  Taylor's  Life  of  Sir  Joshua. 


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BRIDGEWATER    HOUSE  203 

represents  Lord  and  Lady  Clive,  with  a  child  and  a  Hindoo  nurse.  Leslie 
states  that  this  picture  was  painted  in  1786,  and  in  Sir  Joshua's  Hst  of 
sitters,  Lady  Clive  is  given  as  sitting  in  the  May  of  that  year,  but  I  cannot 
find,  curiously  enough,  any  mention  of  the  great  pro-consul's  visits  to 
Leicester  Square.  Waagen  speaking  of  this  work  remarks  that  it  is  one 
"  of  those  pictures  by  this  great  master  which  combine  a  lovely  concep- 
tion with  a  subdued  and  transparent  colouring  and  careful  execution." 
The  other  Sir  Joshua  is  merely  a  sketch  for  the  picture  of  Mrs.  Richard 
Hoare  and  her  son,  now  in  the  Wallace  Collection. 

The  work  of  another,  but  relatively  little  known,  great  English  portrait- 
painter  hangs  also  in  this  room ;  the  portrait  of  the  poet  Cleveland,  by 
Dobson,  in  which  this  fine  draughtsman  and  colourist  approaches  as  near  to 
Vandyck  as  Tintoretto  sometimes  did  to  Titian.  If  Dobson  is  little  known, 
the  poet  whom  he  has  here  immortalised  is  hardly  known  at  all,  yet  the 
latter  was  a  man  of  action  as  well  as  a  votary  of  the  muses,  and  defended 
with  his  sword  the  royalist  cause  which  he  celebrated  by  his  pen  ;  indeed 
at  Newark  his  time  seems  to  have  been  divided  between  this  martial 
activity  and  production  of  satires  on  the  Parliamentary  party,  although 
when  subsequently  imprisoned  at  Yarmouth,  Cromwell  heaped  coals  of 
fire  on  his  head  hy  ordering  his  release.  He  died  two  years  before  the 
Restoration,  and  his  poems  were  not  collected  and  published  till  a  year 
after  that  event. 

Among  other  painters,  examples  of  whose  work  hang  in  this  room, 
are  Dahl,  whose  portrait,  once  said  to  be  of  Lady  Elizabeth,  wife  of 
Scrope,  fourth  Earl  and  later  first  Duke,  of  Bridgewater,  is  now  supposed 
more  probably  to  portray  the  daughter  of  the  Earl,  who  later  married 
the  third  Duke  of  Bedford  ;  Lely  with  portraits  of  the  Countess  of 
Middlesex,  and  Lady  Elizabeth,  daughter  of  James,  Earl  of  Middlesex, 
who  became  the  wife  of  the  third  Duke  of  Bridgewater  ;  and  Raphael 
Mengs  with  his  fine  portrait  of  that  Robert  Wood  whom  I  have  before 
mentioned  as  advising  the  Duke  of  Bridgewater  on  his  purchases  of 
pictures,  and  who  accompanied  his  grace  during  his  Italian  travels.  Sir 
George  Hayter's  presentment  of  Francis,  first  Earl  of  Ellesmere,  also 
hangs  here,  as  does  Lord  Leighton's  portrait  of  Lady  Charlotte  Greville  ; 
while  the  well-known  and  much  engraved  picture  by  Paul  Delaroche 
of  the  soldiers  of  the  Parliament  insulting  Charles  I.  after  his  trial,  is  one 
of  the  few  modern  paintings  in  the  house. 

In  the  State  Drawing  Room  hang  two  fine  Claude's — "  Demosthenes  on 
the  Sea  Shore,"  engaged  in  his  traditional  training  as  an  orator  by  trying 
to  make  his  voice  heard  above  the  rolling  billows  ;  and  "  Moses  and  the 
Burning  Bush,"  in  which  the  landscape  is,  as  usual  with  Claude,   the 


204     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

dominating  note.  The  former  of  these  pictures  (No.  i6i  of  the  Liber 
Veritatis)  was  painted  in  1664,  for  M.  de  Bourlemont,  and  together  with 
the  latter,  came  into  the  possession  of  Mr.  Clarke,  then  of  the  Hon.  Edward 
Bouverie,  from  whom  the  two  works  were  purchased  by  the  Duke  of  Bridge- 
water.  There  is  also  a  beautiful  example  of  Cuyp  in  this  room,  where, 
in  a  large  landscape,  cows,  horses,  ducks  and  geese  are  scattered  about,  and 
a  woman  milks  a  cow  beneath  the  shadow  of  some  trees  ;  and  here,  too, 
hangs  the  only  Turner  in  the  collection,  a  seascape  with  fishing-boats 
in  a  squall,  a  picture  painted,  it  is  said,  in  direct  rivalry  with  Van  de 
Velde's  "  Rising  of  the  Gale,"  formerly  in  the  Backer,  Van  Locquet  and 
Hope  collections,  which  is  close  by  in  the  same  room.  Here,  also,  is 
a  portrait  of  a  Doge  of  Venice,  which  has  been  variously  attributed  to 
Palma  Vecchio,  and  to  Tintoretto,  but  which,  according  to  the  high 
authority  of  Mr.  Claude  PhiUips,  should  be  rather  ascribed  to  the  school 
of  Titian,  perhaps  to  Titian  himself. 

If  there  is  some  doubt  over  the  authorship  of  this  line  canvas,  there 
is  less  over  the  portrait  of  Pope  Clement  VII.,  which,  it  is  conjectured, 
was  painted  by  Titian,  in  1530,  at  Bologna,  whither  the  artist  had  attended 
the  Emperor  Charles  V.  on  the  occasion  of  the  visit  of  the  latter  to  the  Pope. 
Waagen  passes  it  by  as  being  too  feeble  for  Titian's  brush,  and  considers 
it  a  copy  ;  it  has,  however,  a  -provenance  from  the  Amelot  and  Orleans 
collections,  and  has,  by  other  judges,  been  ascribed  to  the  great  Venetian. 

In  a  small  room  known  as  the  Small  State  Drawing  Room,  there 
are  over  twenty  pictures  of  varying  merit  and  as  many  different  schools, 
hanging  on  the  walls.  Bassano  is  here  with  a  "  Last  Judgment  "  ;  Ludovico 
Caracci  with  a  "  Dream  of  St.  Catherine "  ;  and  Annibale  with  an 
"  Infant  St.  John,"  a  picture  that  formerly  belonged  to  M.  Nancre  before 
it  passed  into  the  Orleans  Gallery ;  a  landscape  by  Domenichino,  and 
a  "  Bacchus  and  Satyrs  "  by  Filippo  Lauri ;  and  three  pictures  by  Andrea 
di  Salerno,  of  which  the  first  two  were  originally  the  folding  wings  of  a 
triptych,  and  were  purchased  in  Naples  by  the  first  Earl  of  Ellesmere  ; 
but,  perhaps  finest  of  all,  a  "  Cupid  shaping  his  Bow,"  by  Parmigianino, 
a  replica  of  the  picture  in  the  Vienna  Gallery,  and  said  to  have  been 
executed  for  the  Chevalier  Bayard.  Mrs.  Jameson  and  Barry  are  both 
agreed  on  the  excellence  of  this  work,  but  Waagen  considers  it  only  a 
moderate  example  of  the  master.  It  was  originally  in  the  collection  of 
Queen  Christina  of  Sweden,  and  later  in  the  Bracciano  Gallery,  whence, 
apparently  about  1 721,  it  passed  into  the  possession  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans. 
It  was  valued  at  700  guineas  when  the  Duke  of  Bridgewater  took  over 
part  of  the  Orleans  collection.  For  the  rest,  the  pictures  in  this  room 
are  chiefly  of  the  Dutch  or   Flemish  schools — Karl  du  Jardin,  Dusart, 


BRIDGEWATER   HOUSE  205 

Van  Lint,  Van  Huysum,  and  Berghem  being  among  those  painters  whose 
works  are  here  represented. 

Other  rooms,  such  as  the  Library,  the  Small  Library,  the  Dowager 
Countess's  Rooms,  the  Ante-Rooms,  even  the  Service  Room  and  the 
Bedrooms,  are  full  of  pictorial  works  of  interest  and  value,  but  nothing 
short  of  a  complete  catalogue  could  avail  to  adequately  describe 
them. 

The  Dining  Room  is  reserved  exclusively  for  portraits  ;  here  hang 
William  IIL  and  Queen  Mary  in  their  robes,  life  size,  by  Kneller  ;  Prince 
Charles  Edward  and  his  mother,  Clementina  Sobieski,  by  Allan  Ramsay  ; 
James  L,  of  pacific  memory,  by  Van  Somer  ;  and  Thomas  Weedon,  Esq., 
by  John  Greenhill,  the  pupil  of  Lely  who  feared  him,  'tis  said,  as  a  rival  ; 
and  with  these  the  seated  figure  of  the  first  Earl  of  Ellesmere,  by  Edwin 
Long,  and  the  portrait  of  the  present  holder  of  the  title,  by  Rudolph 
Lehmann. 

I  have  entered  somewhat  minutely  into  the  subject  of  the  pictures 
in  Bridgewater  House,  because  they  form,  admittedly,  one  of  the  two  or 
three  finest  collections  in  London,  but  I  despair  of  giving  anything  but 
the  baldest  idea  of  the  wealth  of  pictorial  art  assembled  within  these 
walls,  which  would  require  a  volume  to  do  it  adequate  justice  ;  but 
perhaps  some  idea  of  the  extent  of  the  collection,  as  well  as  its  remarkable 
range,  covering  practically  all  schools  from  Raphael's  day  downwards, 
may  be  gathered  from  the  enumeration  here  of  a  relatively  few  of  its 
wonderful  treasures. 

As  in  all  such  great  houses,  the  wealth  of  decorative  objects  (other 
than  pictures) — beautiful  furniture,  china,  and  that  collection  of  artistic 
trifles  which,  for  want  of  an  appropriate  English  word,  we  call  bric-a-brac — 
is  on  the  same  scale  of  beauty  and  value  as  are  the  canvases  that  look 
down  upon  them.  All  this  must  be  taken  for  granted  by  the  reader, 
who  would  hardly  thank  me  were  I  to  give  an  exhaustive  list,  where 
Louis  Quinze  and  Louis  Seize,  Sheraton  and  Hepplewhite  and  Chippen- 
dale should  jostle  Sevres  and  Chelsea,  Worcester  and  Capo  di  Monte, 
and  where  I  fear  it  would  be  a  case  of  not  being  able  to  see  the  wood 
because  of  the  trees. 

But  besides  these  treasures,  the  library  of  rare  books  is  one  of  the 
most  important  private  collections  in  London,  being  particularly  rich 
in  Elizabethan  and  Jacobean  literature,  and  containing  the  famous  four 
folio  Shakespeares,  besides  the  remarkable  Ellesmere  Chaucer,  as  well  as 
illuminated  missals  and  historical  MSS.  of  priceless  value.  In  addition 
to  this  fine  assemblage,  there  is  also  preserved  here  a  very  remarkable 
collection  of    coins   comprising   several  specimens   which  are   not   to   be 


2o6     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

found  in  the  British  Museum  ;  so  that  from  every  point  of  view,  whether 
we  consider  the  architectural  beauty  of  the  house  and  its  internal  decora- 
tion, the  famous  pictures  that  hang  on  its  walls,  the  rare  books  and  manu- 
scripts and  coins  that  repose  in  its  cabinets,  or  the  beautiful  furniture 
and  china  that  add  beauty  to  its  rooms,  Bridgewater  House  may  well 
be  called  a  palace  of  art. 


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2o8     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

House,  engraved  by  J.  S.  Muller,  the  mansion  had  but  recently  been 
completed/  and  by  this  picture  we  can  see  how  ample  were  the  propor- 
tions of  the  original  structure,  and  can  also  perceive  at  a  glance  how 
much,  both  in  building  and  land,  has  been  curtailed  from  its  former  fair 
proportions.  To-day  it  consists  of  the  centre  portion  together  with 
those  colonnades  which  joined  it  to  the  two  large,  but  inelegant,  wings 
shown  in  Eyre's  drawing.  These  wings  are  now  swallowed  up  by  other 
residences,  and  the  frontage  to  South  Audley  Street  is  proportionately 
lessened.  The  gardens,  too,  behind  the  mansion,  which  are  now  diminished 
to  vanishing  point,  then  extended  indefinitely  down  Curzon  Street ; 
and  although  to  the  south  there  was  a  rov/  of  buildings  with  the 
Grosvenor  Chapel  at  the  west  corner,  on  the  north  and  east  was  open 
ground,  giving  point  to  the  saying  of  many  of  Chesterfield's  friends  that 
he  had  gone  to  live  in  the  wilds,  and  to  his  own  remark  that  he  would 
be  obliged  to  keep  a  house  dog,  as  he  had  taken  up  his  residence  among 
thieves  and  murderers  ! 

Indeed,  curious  as  it  may  seem  to  us  who  now  regard  this  portion 
of  the  town  as  the  centre  of  fashion.  Lord  Chesterfield  was  a  building 
pioneer  in  this  spot ;  but  his  enterprise  was  not  long  in  being  imitated, 
for  by  a  map  of  the  parish  of  St.  George's,  dated  1787,  we  can  see  that 
streets  and  houses  had  even  in  this  short  space  of  time  sprung  up  on  all 
sides  of  his  stately  house. 

The  ground  on  which  Chesterfield  House  was  built  was  the  freehold 
of  Viscount  Howe,  whose  son,  the  famous  naval  commander,  was  created 
Earl  Howe  in  1788,  and  was  known  among  his  sailors  as  "  Black  Dick  "  ; 
its  architect  was  Isaac  Ware,  who  published  a  "  Palladio  "  and  lived  in 
Bloomsbury  Square,  and  to  whom  several  buildings  in  London  can  be 
traced.^  It  seems  a  little  uncertain  how  long  the  house  was  a  building, 
probably  about  four  years;  at  any  rate  it  was  in  progress  during  1747, 
for  we  find  Lord  Chesterfield  writing  to  Madame  de  Monconseil,  on  the 
31st  July  of  that  year,  in  the  following  terms  :  "  Une  soci6t6  aimable 
est,  a  la  longue,  la  plus  grande  douceur  de  la  vie,  et  elle  ne  se  trouve  que 
dans  les  capitales.  C'est  sur  ce  principe  que  je  me  ruine  actuellement  a 
bitir  une  assez  belle  maison  ici,  qui  sera  finie  a  la  Fran9oise  avec  force 
sculptures  et  dorures."  On  the  13th  of  August  following.  Lord  Chester- 
field writes  to  his  friend  Bristowe,^  in  these  terms  :  "  My  house  goes 
on  apace,  and  draws  upon  me  very  fast.     My  colonnade  is  so  fine,  that 

'  Among  other  views  and  plans  of  the  house  is  an  engraved  ground-plan,  preserved  in 
the  Grace  collection. 

'  Plans  of  many  of  these  are  contained  in  Ware's  Boiiy  of  Architecture. 

3  The  letters  from  whence  these  extracts  are  taken  are  now  in  the  possession  of  Charles 
E.  Gooch,  Esq.,  who  has  kindly  allowed  me  to  make  use  of  them. 


CHESTERFIELD   HOUSE  209 

to  keep  the  house  in  countenance,  I  am  obHged  to  dress  the  windows  of 
the  front  with  stone,  those  of  the  middle  floor  too  with  Pediments  and 
Balustrades "  ;  and  he  adds,  "  I  propose  getting  into  it  next  Summer, 
that  is,  provided  the  Bailiffs  do  not  get  into  it  before  me  "  ;  while,  in 
September  of  the  same  year,  he  tells  his  old  friend  DayroUes  that  his 
only  amusement  is  the  building  of  his  new  house,  and  that  even  that 
is  attended  by  one  regrettable  incident — the  expense. 

Full  of  his  new  plaything,  the  Earl  again  writes  Bristowe,  on 
December  1 2th  of  the  same  year  :  "  My  new  house  is  near  opening 
its  doors  to  receive  me  ;  and  as  soon  as  the  weather  shall  be  warm  enough 
I  shall  get  into  the  necessary  part  of  it,  finishing  the  rest  at  my  leisure. 
My  eating  room,  my  dressing  room,  mon  Boudoir,  and  my  Library  will 
be  completely  finished  in  three  months.  My  court,  my  Hall  and  my 
staircase  will  really  be  magnificent.  The  staircase  particularly  will  form 
such  a  scene,  as  is  not  in  England.  The  expense  will  ruin  me,  but  the 
enjoyment  will  please  me." 

But  although  Lord  Chesterfield  speaks  of  being  installed  in  at  least 
a  portion  of  the  house  in  three  months,  we  find  him  writing  again  to 
the  same  correspondent  on  February  the  9th,  1748,  and  remarking, 
"  You  will  find  my  house  very  near  finished,  for  I  propose  being  in  it 
in  July  or  August  at  furthest,"  and  he  incidentally  indicates  that  the 
great  building  had  its  adverse  critics,  for  he  goes  on  to  say,  "  I  think  you 
will  like  it,  but  whether  you  will  dare  to  own  it,  I  am  not  sure,  considering 
that  the  schola  ^  fulminates  so  strongly  against  it." 

The  delay  in  the  completion  of  the  house  was  not  only  probably  due 
to  alterations  and  improvements  made  by  the  fastidious  Earl  as  it  pro- 
gressed, but  was  also  increased  by  "  the  long  continuance  of  the  cold 
weather,"  which  Chesterfield  tells  Bristowe,  on  March  the  31st,  1748, 
"  suspended  all  my  work  for  a  great  while,  and  it  will  be  with  some  incon- 
veniency  even  that  I  shall  get  into  my  house  at  Michaelmas  ;  but  I  will 
do  it  " — an  assurance  he  repeats  in  another  letter  to  his  friend  on  June  21st, 
although  even  then  he  realises  that  he  will  only  be  lodged  in  part  of  the 
rooms  as  "  those  of  show  must  stay  till  next  Summer  for  their  final 
flourish  "  ;  and  he  adds,  "  one  thing  however  which  I  must  prepare  you 
for,  is  that  my  Door  will  not  be  painted  black."  This  is  a  dark  saying, 
and  evidently  contains  some  covert  allusion,  the  point  of  which,  at  least 
to  me,  is  anything  but  clear  ;  unless  at  that  moment  the  vagaries  of  fashion 
ordained  this  sable  adornment  for  the  chief  entrance  to  private  dweUings. 

On  April  i,  1749,  Chesterfield  is  able  to  write  that  he  is  in  his  house, 

'  One  wonders  whether  this  refers  to  certain  adverse  architects  generally,  or  to  the  Society 
of  Dilettanti  in  particular. 


2IO    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

but  even  then  with  the  reservation  that  "  it  is  yet  far  from  finished,  and 
cannot  be  completely  so  before  Michaelmas  next."  The  Earl  appears  to 
have  actually  taken  possession  on  March  13,  1749,  ^^  ^^^  know,  con- 
siderably later  than  he  expected  to  do,  for  hy  a  letter  to  Madame  de 
Monconseil,  written  in  July,  1748,  he  spoke  of  being  then  without  a  house, 
having  left  his  old  one,^  and  not  yet  having  got  into  his  new  one,  and 
he  added  that  in  six  weeks  he  hoped  to  be  settled  in,  whereas  we  see  it  was 
over  six  months  before  he  took  up  his  residence  in  his  new  dwelling. 

Although  actually  getting  in  he  found  that  the  decorations  of  the 
various  rooms  were  far  from  complete ;  indeed  the  fact  that  the  house 
warming  did  not  take  place  till  1752,  goes  to  prove  that  the  intervening 
years  were  occupied  in  their  embellishment.  His  chief  care  seems  to 
have  been  lavished  on  the  boudoir  and  the  library  ;  and  they  appear 
to  have  been  the  first  apartments  to  be  finished,  for  in  March,  1749,  he 
writes  to  DayroUes  thus  :  "  I  have  yet  finished  nothing  but  my  boudoir 
and  my  library  ;  the  former  is  the  gayest  and  most  cheerful  room  in 
London,  the  latter  the  best  "  ;  indeed  this  "  boudoir,"  so  called  on  the 
lucus  a  non  lucendo  principle  of  "  a  non  boudare,"  he  tells  a  friend,  seems 
to  have  been  his  pet  hobby,  and  on  it  he  lavished  much  of  his  good  taste 
and  more  of  his  ready  money.  Quite  in  the  Walpoleian  manner  he  gives 
Madame  de  Monconseil "  a  description  of  the  room  :  "  La  boisure  est  d'un 
beau  bleu,"  he  writes,  "  avec  beaucoup  de  sculptures  et  de  dorures  ;  les 
tapisseries  et  les  chaises  sont  d'un  ouvrage  a  fleurs  au  petit-point,  d'un 
dessein  magnifique  sur  un  fond  blanc  ;  par  dessus  la  cheminee,  qui  est  de 
Giallo  di  Sienna,  force  glaces,  sculptures,  dorures,  et  au  milieu  le  portrait 
d'une  tres  belle  femme,  peint  par  la  Rosalba."  He  would  have  sent  his  fair 
friend  a  like  minute  description  of  the  rest  of  the  house,  but  was  deterred 
by  the  fact  that  the  younger  Pliny  in  attempting  such  a  picture  of  his 
villa,  failed  lamentably  in  conveying  an  adequate  idea  of  it,  and  the  Earl 
perhaps  rightly  thought  that  he  was  hardly  likely  to  succeed  where  the 
Roman  had  failed,  for  he  adds  aphoristically  that  "  il  est  de  la  sagesse 
de  ne  pas  tenter  des  choses  au  dessus  de  ses  forces." 

To  Bristowe,  on  September  17,  1747,  he  refers  to  the  Library, 
that  Library  which  he  afterwards  speaks  of  as  being  "  stuffed  with  easy 
chairs  and  easy  books,"  which  he  is  "  finishing  as  fast  as  I  can  "  ;  and  he 
informs  his  friend  that  "  the  ceiling  is  done  and  most  of  the  wainscot 
up.  The  Book  cases  go  no  higher  than  the  dressings  of  the  doors,  and 
my  Poets  which  I  hang  over  them  will  be  in  Stucco  Allegorical  frames 

'  He  lived  in  St.  James's  Square  from  1727  till  1733  ;  and  in  Grosvenor  Square  from  the 
latter  date  till  he  went  to  Chesterfield  House. 

°  She  presented  him  with  the  mag-nificent  bras  dc  porcelaine,  that  used  to  hang  on  each  side 
of  the  mantelpiece. 


LU 
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UP 

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212     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

age."  Lord  Chesterfield  in  these  letters  was  used  to  "  point  his  moral," 
both  from  his  own  experience  as  well  as  from  the  objects  with  which 
he  had  surrounded  himself,  and  which  sometimes  engendered,  and  were 
sometimes  combined  in,  his  train  of  thought  ;  and  we  here  find  his  new 
possession  pressed  appropriately  into  the  service  as  an  educational  as  well 
as  a  decorative  medium. 

The  bookcases  reached  only  half-way  up  the  walls,  and  in  the  space 
above  them  hung  the  portraits  of  some  of  the  greatest  and,  it  must  be 
confessed,  one  of  the  least,  names  in  English  literature.  Here  was  Shake- 
speare by  Zucchero,  flanked  by  Chaucer,  Sidney,  Spenser,  Ben  Jonson, 
and  Milton,  down  to  Addison  and  Prior,  Pope,  Swift,  and  Rowe.^  Curiously 
enough,  although  the  prevailing  note  in  the  house  was  a  French  note,  no 
great  writer  of  that  country — not  even  Moliere — relieved  the  somewhat 
insular  effect  of  this  gallery  of  literary  great  ones  in  the  mansion  that 
belonged  to  one  of  the  most  uninsular  of  Englishmen.  Another  notice- 
able room  was  the  Italian  Drawing  Room,  with  its  glittering  chandelier  of 
innumerable  lustres,  and  the  marble  mantelpiece  with  its  massive  cary- 
atids. Each  apartment,  indeed,  had  its  distinctive  feature  and  its  distin- 
guishing note  of  colour  decoration,  formed  by  the  beautiful  silk  hangings 
of  various  hues,  which  had  been  sent  from  France,  and  in  many  cases 
specially  prepared  for  this  artistic  apotheosis.  Thus,  one  room  had  a 
large  mirror  made  up  of  small  pieces  of  glass,  the  joins  being  hidden  by 
painted  cupids,  flowers,  and  arabesques  ;  another  was  noticeable  for  its 
girandoles,  the  candle  branches  of  which  were  in  the  form  of  gilt  tasselled 
ropes.  The  Music  Room  had,  of  course,  its  organ,  on  which  we  may 
suppose  the  airs  of  Handel  and  Bach  to  have  often  trembled  ;  and  its 
decorations  were  illustrative  of  the  art  of  St.  Cecilia.  In  fact,  everything 
in  the  house  showed  the  taste  and  judgment  and  knowledge  of  its  creator, 
the  pride  he  took  in  it,  and  the  care  he  bestowed  on  its  beautification. 
And  nothing  proved  these  qualities  better,  perhaps,  than  the  pictures 
which  hung  on  the  walls,  for  here  were  to  be  seen  examples  of  the  masters 
of  pictorial  art — Rubens  with  his  sweeping  brush,  Titian  with  his  glowing 
colours,  and  Vandyke's  air  of  refinement  ;  the  classic  landscapes  of  Poussin, 
the  correct  architecture  of  Canaletto,  the  trembling  saints  of  Guido, 
and  Salvator's  powerful  shadows. 

But  Lord  Chesterfield  was  no  indiscriminate  purchaser  ;  indeed  he 
appears  to  have  dealt  with  pictures  as  he  would  with  property,  and  never 
to  have  bought  anything  that  was  not  a  bargain.  He  employed  two 
advisers — one.  Sir  Luke  Schaub,  and  the  other  M.  Harenc,  a  Frenchman — 

^  They  are  now  at  Bretby,  Lord  Carnarvon's  seat,  but  the  spaces  have  been  filled  by  other 
portraits. 


CHESTERFIELD   HOUSE  213 

to  assist  him  in  the  selection  of  works  of  art,  while  his  friend  DayroUes 
was  commissioned  to  hunt  about  for  canvases  that  had  a  genuine  -pro- 
venance and  were  to  be  bought  cheap.  On  one  occasion  we  find  his 
lordship  writing  to  the  latter  in  this  strain  :  "  A  fropos  of  money,  as 
I  •believe  it  is  much  wanted  by  many  people  even  of  fashion  both  in 
Holland  and  Flanders,  I  should  think  it  very  likely  that  many  good 
pictures  of  Rubens,  Teniers,  and  other  Flemish  and  Dutch  masters  may 
be  picked  up  now  at  reasonable  rates  "  ;  and  he  takes  the  occasion  to 
remind  his  correspondent  of  some  of  the  works  which  he  already  possesses, 
such  as  "  a  most  beautiful  landscape  by  Rubens,  and  a  pretty  little 
piece  of  Teniers "  ;  but  it  seems  that  he  now  wanted  works  on  a 
larger  scale,  probably  to  fill  the  ample  wall  spaces  in  his  new  house. 
"  If,"  he  adds,  "  you  could  meet  with  a  large  capital  history  or  allegorical 
piece  by  Rubens,  with  the  figures  as  big  as  the  life,  I  could  go  pretty 
deep  to  have  it,  as  also  for  a  large  and  capital  picture  of  Teniers  "  ;  and 
again  he  appears  to  have  turned  his  attention  to  the  Italian  school  :  "  I 
will  buy  no  more  till  I  happen  to  meet  with  some  capital  ones  of  some 
of  the  most  eminent  old  Italian  masters,  such  as  Raphael,  Guido,  Cor- 
reggio,  &c.,  and  in  that  case  I  would  make  an  effort."  He  was  once 
nearly  taken  in  by  a  Titian,  which  turned  out  "  an  execrable  bad  copy  "  ; 
and  although,  by  some  loose  prior  agreement  on  the  part  of  the  vendor, 
Lord  Chesterfield  eventually  only  had  to  pay  the  carriage  of  the  painting, 
it  evidently  made  him  particularly  careful  in  the  selection  of  his  cheap 
masterpieces. 

It  is  not  difficult  to  understand  that  the  "  Vanqueur  du  Monde," 
as  Johnson,  in  his  celebrated  letter,  called  him,  armed  with  a  thousand 
graces  of  mind,  if  not,  according  to  Hervey  and  others,  particularly  graceful 
in  appearance, — "  like  a  stunted  giant,"  says  Ashurst  ;  "  with  a  head  big 
enough  for  a  Polyphemus,"  sneers  "  Lord  Fanny,"— surrounded  as  he 
was  by  such  treasures,  could  easily  fill  his  house  with  the  most  notable 
of  his  contemporaries  ;  but  he  had  a  further  attraction  at  command, 
he  was  an  epicure  of  the  first  water,  and  indeed  was  one  of  the  earliest 
to  introduce  French  cookery  into  this  country,  and  his  dinners  and 
suppers  were  regarded  as  exhibiting  the  quintessence  of  culinary  art ;  as 
well  they  might  do,  when  we  remember  that  he  engaged  as  cook — if  this 
plain  unvarnished  word  can  be  considered  sufficient  to  indicate  the  powers 
of  so  distinguished  a  gastronomical  artist — La  Chapelle,  who  was  not  only 
gifted  with  national  genius,  but  may  be  said  to  have  had  a  family  claim 
to  it  as  being  descended  from  that  La  Chapelle  who  catered  for  the  more 
mundane  wants  of  the  great  Louis  Quatorze  himself. 

Lord  Chesterfield  set  an  example  which  was  followed  by  at  least  one 


214    THE  PRIVATE   PALACES   OF  LONDON 

of  his  descendants,  for  what  La  Chapelle  did  for  the  palates  of  the  master 
and  guests  in  the  eighteenth  century,  that  did  Francatelli  and  Alexis 
Soyer  for  the  host  and  habituds  of  Chesterfield  House  in  the  nineteenth. 

One  of  the  chief  merits  in  Chesterfield  House,  according  to  its  builder, 
was  the  fact  that  it  had  (as  it  still  has)  a  spacious  courtyard  in  front,  and 
(which  it  has  no  longer)  a  fine  garden  at  the  back — "  the  finest  private 
garden  in  London,"  according  to  Beckford — attributes,  then  as  now,  rarely 
to  be  found  in  town  houses.  "  My  garden  is  now  turfed,  planed,  and 
sown,  and  will,  in  two  months  more,  make  a  scene  of  verdure  and  flowers 
not  common  in  London,"  ^  he  complacently  writes  to  DayroUes  in  March 
1749,  in  a  letter  which  he  dates,  as  if  to  give  his  residence  a  fuller 
French  flavour,  "  Hotel  Chesterfield  "  !  Here  he  resided  for  some  twenty 
years,  years  that  saw  the  peaceful  close  of  a  long  life  of  considerable 
political  activity  and  more  personal  pleasure,  of  which  the  details  need 
not  here  be  enumerated.* 

On  March  24,  1773,  his  old  friend  DayroUes  called  to  inquire  after 
him.  He  found  the  life  of  this  man  of  "  exquisitely  elegant  manners  " 
slowly  ebbing  away.  "  Give  DayroUes  a  chair,"  the  dying  Peer  faintly 
whispered  to  his  attendant,  and  in  less  than  an  hour  he  was  dead.'  WeU 
might  Dr.  Warren,  who  was  present,  remark  that  "  His  good  breeding 
only  quits  him  with  his  life."  But  we  must  remember  that  in  Lord 
Chesterfield's  case,  good  breeding  was  not  a  cloak  to  be  put  on  and  off 
as  occasion  required ;  it  was  his  second  nature.* 

But  it  was  not  only  his  politeness  that  he  preserved  to  his  last  breath  ; 
his  wit  accompanied  him  almost  to  his  grave.  Says  Walpole,  writing  to 
Lady  Ossory  on  March  1 1  of  this  same  year,  "  My  Lord  Chesterfield 
bought  a  '  Claude  '  the  other  day  for  four  hundred  guineas,  and  a  '  Madame 
de  la  Valliere  '  for  four.  He  said,  '  WeU,  if  I  am  laughed  at  for  giving  so 
much  for  a  landscape,  at  least  it  must  be  allowed  that  I  have  my  woman 
cheap.' "  "  Is  it  not  charming,"  comments  Horace,  "  to  be  so  agreeable 
quite  to  the  door  of  one's  coffin  ?  " 

I  think  we  can  see  through  aU  the  life  of  Chesterfield  one  prevailing 
object  :  to    obtain    the    regard  and    admiration    of   his    contemporaries ; 

1  Lord  Essex,  who  died  in  1839,  used  to  say  that  as  a  boy  he  remembered  seeing  the  old 
Earl  sitting  on  a  rustic  seat  basking  in  the  sun  on  the  marble  terrace  that  overlooked  the 
gardens  at  the  back  of  the  house. 

-  For  the  full  account  of  his  career  see  his  Li/r  by  Ernst,  as  well  as  his  famous  Letters s 
and  particularly  the  work  of  his  latest  biographer,  Mr.  W.  H.  Craig. 

'  He  was  buried  in  the  burial-ground  of  Grosvenor  Chapel,  but  his  body  was  afterwards 
removed  to  Shelford,  in  Nottinghamshire. 

*  Lady  Chesterfield,  the  daughter  of  a  notorious  mother,  gave  herself  up  to  good  works, 
and  was  a  devout  follower  of  Whitfield  ;  when  her  husband  lay  dying  she  brought  the 
Rev.  Rowland  Hill  to  his  bedside,  but  the  Earl  was  too  deaf,  even  had  he  been  inchned,  to 
hear  his  pious  exhortations. 


CHESTERFIELD    HOUSE  215 

indeed,  in  one  of  his  letters  to  his  son,  he  says  as  much,  "  Call  it  vanity 
if  you  will,  and  possibly  it  is  so  ;  but  my  great  object  was  to  make  every 
man  and  every  woman  love  me.  I  often  succeeded  ;  but  why  ?  by 
taking  great  pains."  Hervey,  who  loved  him  not,  says  that  he  often  went 
so  far  as  to  sacrifice  his  interest  to  his  vanity  ;  this  is  the  verdict  of  an 
enemy ;  a  friend  would,  perhaps,  rather  see  in  it  a  readiness  to  give  up 
present  advantage  if  by  so  doing  friendship  and  esteem  could  be  obtained. 
Like  all  men  in  great  positions,  Lord  Chesterfield  has  been  variously 
judged ;  old  Sarah  of  Marlborough  left  him  a  large  sum  of  money  and  a 
magnificent  diamond  ring  as  a  proof  of  "  the  great  regard  she  had  for 
his  merit "  ;  and  Dr.  Johnson  wrote  him  a  letter  which  has  become  an 
English  classic  ;  and  surely  to  have  given  the  "  great  Cham  of  literature  " 
the  opportunity  of  penning  such  a  splendid  rejoinder  should  at  least  help 
to  wipe  away  the  neglect  that  inspired  it.^ 

chesterfield  was,  as  all  the  world  knows,  a  wit  of  the  first  water,  and 
many  are  the  stories  of  his  good  sayings — not  as  celebrated  as  George 
Selwyn's,  but  often  as  pointed — which  have  come  down  to  us.  Ovce 
his  wit  took  a  practical  form.  In  the  gallery  at  Chesterfield  House  he 
caused  to  be  hung  two  figures,  one  inscribed  Adam  de  Stanhope,  the  other 
Eve  de  Stanhope  ;  could  the  force  of  satire  go  further  ?  As  Walpole  says, 
"  the  ridicule  is  admirable."  " 

Among  the  beautiful  women  who  frequented  the  assemblies  of  Lord 
Chesterfield  few,  if  any,  created  more  excitement  and  interest  than 
"  those  goddesses,  the  Gunnings  "  ;  and  here  it  was  that  the  Duke  of 
Hamilton  was  first  seriously  attracted  by  the  beauty  of  the  younger  of 
the  fair  sisters,  "  at  an  immense  assembly  made  to  show  the  house  which 
is  really  magnificent,"  writes  Walpole  to  Mann.  "  Duke  Hamilton," 
adds  our  gossiping  chronicler,  "  made  violent  love  at  one  end  of  the  room, 
while  he  was  playing  at  pharaoh  at  the  other  end  ;  that  is,  he  saw  neither 
the  bank  nor  his  own  cards,  which  were  of  three  hundred  pounds  each  : 
he  soon  lost  a  thousand." 

Few  of  the  great  houses  of  London  have  received  within  their  walls 
a  more  brilliant  assemblage  of  the  distinguished  men  and  beautiful  women 
of  their  time  than  Chesterfield  House  ;  and  although  its  owner  was  one 
who  was  said  to  have  had  no  friend,  nobody  will  deny  that  his  acquaintances 
were  drawn  from  the  wittiest  and  most  dazzling  society  of  the  day. 
Here  might  have  been  seen  that  Duke  of  Newcastle  whose  ignorance 
and  malapropisms  have  become  a  byword ;  who  for  nearly  thirty  years 

'  By-the-bye  although  there  is  an  ante-chamber  in  Chesterfield  House  called  "  Dr. 
Johnson's  Room,"  it  could  hardly  have  been  here,  but  in  Lord  Chesterfield's  house  in  Grosvenor 
Square,  that  Johnson  was  repulsed  from  the  door  and  kept  waiting  in  the  outward  room. 

'  Walpole  to  Mann,  September  i,  1750. 


2i6    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

was  a  Secretary  of  State,  and  was  astounded  at  the  information  that  Cape 
Breton  was  an  island,  and  wanted  to  run  off  and  tell  the  King  that  "  Great 
Britain  is  an  island  "  !  who  was  for  ten  years  First  Lord  of  the  Treasury, 
and  agreed  on  one  occasion  that  Annapolis  must  be  defended,  but  wanted 
to  know  where  Annapolis  was  ;  and  Lord  Pembroke,  who  was  so  devoted 
to  swimming  that  Chesterfield  once  addressed  a  letter  to  him  "  in  the 
Thames  over  against  Whitehall "  ;  ^  Lord  Scarborough,  "  as  worthy  a 
little  man  as  ever  was  born,"  '  of  whom  it  was  said  that  he  had  "  judgment 
without  wit,  while  Chesterfield  had  wit  and  no  judgment  "  ;  Lord 
Tyrawley,  who  grew  old  with  his  host,  and  like  him  outlived  most  of  his 
contemporaries,  so  that  Chesterfield  said  wittily,  "  The  fact  is,  Tyrawley 
and  I  have  been  dead  these  two  years,  but  we  don't  choose  to  have  it 
known."  Lord  Sandwich,  with  his  "  manners  of  the  old  court,"  who, 
however,  disgraced  himself  at  the  prosecution  of  John  Wilkes,  might  have 
been  seen  talking  to  the  Gunnings,  "  the  handsomest  women  alive,"  the 
younger  of  whom  married  two  dukes  and  was  the  mother  of  four  ;  while 
the  elder  and  better  looking  was  once  so  mobbed  in  the  Park  that  the 
King  gave  her  a  guard  to  protect  her  from  the  inquisitiveness  of  her 
many  admirers  ;  and  who  once  repaid  that  mark  of  royal  condescension 
by  telling  George  IL  that  the  only  sight  she  wished  to  see  was  a  coronation  ! 
The  Duke  of  Hamilton  who  spent  lavishly  might  have  been  seen  cheek 
by  jowl  with  Lord  Bath,  whose  parsimony  was  so  notorious  that  he  would 
get  wet  through  rather  than  hire  a  coach,  and  who  on  one  occasion  was 
actually  followed  into  church  by  a  persistent  creditor,  when  the  sermon, 
having  for  its  text  "  Cursed  are  they  that  heap  up  riches,"  and  the  man 
of  wrath  pointing  to  my  lord  and  groaning  out,  "  Oh,  Lord,"  the  latter 
had  perforce  to  leave  the  sacred  building  and,  we  are  to  suppose,  settle 
the  reckoning  on  one  of  the  grave-stones.  Then  there  was  the  so-called 
"  Long  Sir  Thomas  Robinson,"  who  once  asked  Chesterfield  to  write 
some  verses  upon  him,  and  got  for  his  pains  this  distich  : 

"  Unlike  my  subject  now  shall  be  my  song, 
It  shall  be  wittv,  and  it  shan't  be  long." 

Selwyn,  on  whom  all  the  good  "  mots  "  of  the  time  are  fathered ;  and 
Walpole,  who  told  such  numberless  good  stories  of  other  people  ;  Dodsley, 
who  published  for  everybody,  and  was  annoyed  by  Johnson's  famous 
letter,  because  he  had  an  interest  in  the  great  Dictionary ;  and  David 
Mallet,  who  wrote  much,  but  is  only  remembered  by  Rule  Britannia, 
which  he  probably  never  wrote  at  all. 

'  See  Characters  of  Eminent  Personages  of  his  07vn  Times,  by  the  late  Earl  of  Chesterfield, 

1777- 

^  Suffolk  Letters,  vol.  ii.  p.  149. 


CHESTERFIELD   HOUSE  217 

The  list  might  be  interminably  extended.^  Cui  bono  P  They  are 
naught  but  ghosts  which  people  the  rooms  of  Chesterfield  House  ;  the 
inanimate  objects  that  furnish  it,  alone  survive  to  enable  us  to  conjure 
up  a  vanished  age.  Could  they  but  speak  ?  And  what  wonderful  objects 
they  are  !  Almost  as  gorgeous  and  beautiful  as  those  who  gazed  upon 
them,  whose  robes  brushed  them  carelessly  by,  whose  features  were 
reflected  in  their  dazzling  surfaces. 

After  Lord  Chesterfield's  death  the  mansion  passed  to  his  cousin 
Philip  Stanhope,  who  became  fifth  Earl,  and  who,  dying  in  1815,  was 
succeeded  by  his  son  the  sixth  Earl;  but  about  1850  it  was  let  to  the 
late  Duke  (then  Marquis)  of  Abercorn,  who  resided  here  till  1869,  when 
the  property  was  purchased  by  Mr.  Magniac  from  Lord  Chesterfield, 
for  ^150,000.  Mr.  Magniac  proceeded  to  cut  up  the  extensive  gardens, 
and  built  Chesterfield  Gardens  on  their  site,  himself  residing  at  the  time 
in  Chesterfield  House.  By  this  development,  as  well  as  by  his  subsequent 
sale  of  the  mansion  to  Lord  Burton,  Mr.  Magniac  must  have  made  a 
splendid  profit  out  of  his  investment,  but  much  of  the  beauty  of  the 
house  was  destroyed  ;  although,  luckily,  he  did  not  proceed  to  those 
extremities  evidently  feared  by  a  writer  in  the  Atheneeum  at  the  time, 
who  says  :  "  The  Public  are  hoping  that  they  may  be  permitted  to  see 
the  interior  of  this  historical  house  before  the  first  pick-axe  is  laid 
to  it." 

There  are  few  more  beautiful  rooms  in  London  than  the  great  Drawing 
Room  at  Chesterfield  House,  certainly  not  many  in  which  the  imagination 
can  run  riot  to  such  an  extent  as  here.  Its  decorations,  marvellous 
arabesques  in  white  and  gold,  on  which  French  and  Italian  artists  spent 
their  luxuriant  fancies ;  the  original  crimson  flowered-silk  hangings  in 
which  careful  mending  is  here  and  there  discernible  ;  its  magnificent 
marble  mantelpiece,  &c.,  remain  as  they  did  practically  in  the  time  of 
the  great  Earl ;  and  what  has  since  been  added  by  the  care  and  dis- 
crimination of  the  present  owner  gives  just  that  touch  of  comfort  and 
homeliness  which  is  more  characteristic  of  our  day  than  it  was  of  those 
of  the  earlier  Georges,  when  the  great  ones  of  the  earth  seem  always  to 
have  existed  en  grande  tenue,  and  to  have  sacrificed,  if  indeed  they  really 
ever  understood,  comfort  to  the  exigencies  of  fashion.  Now  the  magni- 
ficently decorated  walls  and  ceiling  look  not  down  on  an  almost  empty 
room,  with  chairs  and  settees  set  formally  against  the  walls,  and  perhaps 
a  solitary  escritoire  or  commode  standing  isolated  in  its  vast  expanse,  but 
on  a  room  filled  with  rare   French  furniture  ;  tables  loaded  with  costly 

'  On  one  occasion,  in  1760,  Lord  Chesterfield  offered  the  house  to  the  Princess  Emily, 
George  III.'s  aunt,  as  a  residence. 


2i8    THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

bric-d-brac  ;  chairs  covered  in  valuable  tapestries  which  seem  to  invite 
familiar  intercourse  ;  cabinets  filled  with  the  precious  porcelain  of  Chelsea 
and  Sevres,  whose  ornaments  have  been  inspired  by  Gouthiere  or  Riesener, 
or  whose  polished  surfaces  of  oriental  lacquer  reflect  the  light  like 
mirrors  ;  while  the  superb  chandelier  is  so  much  in  harmony  with  the 
room,  that  one  can  hardly  believe  that  Lord  Chesterfield  did  not  himself 
place  it  in  situ  and  gaze  complacently  on  its  thousand  glittering  facets. 

Much  that  was  here  in  the  time  of  the  "  great  Earl  "  has  necessarily 
disappeared  ;  many  objects  of  interest  are  at  Bretby,  the  seat  of  Lord 
Carnarvon ;  others  have  been  scattered  far  and  wide  ;  but  it  is  probable 
that  few  great  houses  which  have  passed  out  of  the  family  that  originally 
owned  them  have  had  their  intrinsic  characteristics  so  carefully  pre- 
served as  has  Chesterfield  House,  or  where  additions  and  alterations 
have  been  necessary  have  these  been  carried  out  with  more  judicious 
discrimination  or  exquisite  taste  than  here.  Thus  in  the  famous  Library, 
which,  with  all  the  Earl's  care,  seems,  so  far  at  least  as  the  ceiling  was 
concerned,  to  have  been  still  unfinished  at  his  death.  Lord  Burton  has 
had  the  divisions  filled  with  elaborate  moulding,  which  appears  exactly 
of  a  piece  with  the  original  ceiling  which  still  looks  down  on  the  State 
Drawing  Room  ;  again  two  other  rooms  have  been  thrown  into  one, 
forming  a  superb  ball-room,  such  as,  in  size  at  least,  even  Chesterfield 
never  dreamt  of ;  and  where  gilding  has  been  introduced  into  the 
decorative  scheme  of  some  of  the  ceilings,  this  has  been  done  with  a 
care,  and  regard  for  fitness  which  is  an  object-lesson  to  some  restorers 
who  are  little  better  than  iconoclasts.  But,  on  the  whole,  there  is  a 
great  preponderance  of  the  original  work  still  remaining  ;  such  as  the 
solid  mahogany  doors,  the  beautiful  marble  chimney-pieces,  many  of  the 
decorated  ceilings,  and  the  brocaded  hangings,  besides  the  unique  grand 
staircase  and  the  canonical  pillars. 

Among  the  contents  may  also  be  seen  some  articles  which  have  been 
again  brought  back,  after  many  wanderings,  to  their  original  home  ;  as, 
for  instance,  two  upright  mirrors  in  elaborately  carved  and  gilded  frames, 
and  some  chairs,  covered  with  tapestry,  on  one  of  which  Miss  Gunning 
may  have  sat  when  the  Duke  of  Hamilton  made  violent  love  to  her,  and 
another  of  which  may  have  been  handed  to  DayroUes  at  the  dying  request 
of  the  "  Vanqueur  du  Monde." 

And  the  pictures  !  What  if  the  canvases  collected  by  the  Earl  no 
longer  hang  here  (fine  as  some  may  have  been,  we  know  that  one  or  two 
would  hardly  bear  critical  investigation),  could  they  have  compared 
with  those  that  now  look  from  the  walls  ?  In  the  Dining  Room  alone^are 
six  Gainsboroughs,  and  what  Gainsboroughs  !       Here  is  the  Countess  of 


CHESTERFIELD    HOUSE  219 

Sussex  and  Lady  Barbara  Yelverton ;  ^  here  that  superb  pair  of  portraits 
of  Sir  Bate  Dudley,'  and  his  wife ;  the  former  the  notorious  Parson- 
Baronet,  who  once  edited  the  Morning  Post,  and  looks  here,  with  his 
proud,  self-possessed  face,  as  if  he  felt,  as  he  probably  did,  capable  of  ruling 
the  kingdom  ;  Lady  Kinnoul  (hanging  over  the  fireplace) ;  and  full-lengths 
of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Drummond  ;  while  above  one  of  the  doors  is  a  charming 
portrait  group  by  Peters,  very  similar  to  the  one  in  the  National  Gallery. 

There  are  also  several  remarkably  fine  Romneys  at  Chesterfield  House ; 
Mary,  Lady  Beauchamp ;  the  Hon.  Mrs.  Beresford,  a  picture  engraved  by 
Jones  in  1792  ;  "  A  Beggar  Man,"  exhibited  at  the  Society  of  Artists  in 
1771  ;  and  one  of  the  innumerable  Lady  Hamiltons,  this  time  as 
"  Sensibility,"  engraved  by  Earlom  in  1789 ;  as  well  as  a  portrait  of  Miss  Pitt. 
Besides  these,  in  the  large  Drawing  Room,  is  the  same  painter's  full- 
length  portrait  of  Lady  Paulet,  in  a  white  dress  and  pale-blue  velvet 
bodice,  and  wearing  one  of  those  large  picture  hats  which  Gainsborough 
first  made  an  artistic  accessory  ;  and  here,  too,  is  Romney's  "  Pink  Boy," 
painted  probably  in  rivalry  with  Gainsborough's  more  celebrated  "  Blue 
Boy." 

It  is  in  this  splendid  room  that  the  great  chandelier  that  formerly 
belonged  to  Prince  Demidoff,  and  was  afterwards  in  Lord  Dudley's  col- 
lection, now  hangs. 

One  of  the  Romneys  hangs  in  the  Red  Room  ;  but  a  greater  than 
Romney  is  here — Sir  Joshua,  with  his  "  Lesbia  "  ;  his  Sir  George  Bowyev, 
painted  between  December  1768  and  January  1769  ;  and  above  all  his 
Admiral  Keppel,  probably  executed  in  1780,  and  one  of  the  four  or  five 
portraits  he  painted  of  his  friend,  each  of  which  exhibits  such  individuality 
of  treatment  that  they  can  in  no  sense  be  considered  as  mere  copies  or 
replicas.  Over  the  mantelpiece  in  the  Library  hangs  the  same  master's 
presentment  of  Mrs.  Hamar  ;  while  those  spaces  over  the  bookcases,  which 
were,  as  we  have  seen,  in  Lord  Chesterfield's  day  filled  with  portraits  of 
illustrious  literary  characters,  are  now  occupied  by  examples  of  Cotes  and 
Zoffany,  Opie,  and  the  great  Sir  Joshua  himself. 

The  small  Dining  Room  rejoices  in  two  Gainsboroughs  and  two 
Romneys,  the  former  being  represented  by  his  portrait  of  Miss  Franks 
as  a  little  girl  sitting  on  a  bank  and  fondling  a  lamb,  and  Mrs.  Morris, 
which  hangs  above  the  chimney-piece  ;  while  the  canvases  of  the  latter 
are  portraits  of  two  young  boys,  whose  identity  has  not,  I  think,  been 
satisfactorily  established. 

'  Reproduced  in  Sir  William  Armstrong's  L/ff  of  Gainsborough. 

^  This  picture  was  painted  at  Bradwell  in  1785-6  ;  there  is  a  three-quarter-length  portrait 
of  the  same  subject  in  the  National  Gallery. 


220    THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

The  great  Ball  Room,  which,  as  I  have  said,  has  been  formed  by- 
throwing  two  rooms  into  one,  contains  three  works  by  Reynolds,  two 
of  which  are  full-length  portraits ;  one  of  Lady  Sunderlin,^  who  we  know 
sat  to  Sir  Joshua  in  June  1788,  and  the  other  of  Frances  Wyndham, 
second  daughter  of  the  second  Earl  of  Egremont,  and  who  was  married 
to  the  first  Earl  of  Romney  in  1776  ;  and  here,  too,  hangs  a  replica  of 
Reynolds's  famous  "  Snake  in  the  Grass,"  as  well  as  the  full-length  of 
Colonel  Bullock,  by  Gainsborough. 

Even  the  Entrance  Hall  is  lighted  up  by  some  fine  works,  notably 
Hoppner's  "  Boy  with  a  Bow  ;  "  Gainsborough's  "  Lord  Sudeley ;  "  and 
the  Gawlers,  father  and  son,  by  Sir  Joshua,^  besides  a  fine  and  charac- 
teristic picture  of  birds  by  Hondekoeter,  another  of  whose  works  hangs 
on  the  landing  of  the  Grand  Staircase. 

Preserving,  as  it  does,  so  much  of  the  appearance  and  characteristic 
charm  that  made  it  a  source  of  wonder  and  delight  to  the  world  of  fashion 
that  here  gathered  round  its  creator,  Chesterfield  House  must  always  be 
one  of  the  most,  if  not  the  most,  intrinsically  interesting  of  the  great 
houses  of  London  ;  but  when  to  this  is  added  the  fact  that  in  a  hundred 
ways  the  place  remains,  both  as  to  structure  and  internal  decoration, 
as  it  appeared  when  the  great  Earl's  loving  care  was  first  bestowed  upon 
it  with  such  profuseness  and  with  such  artistic  discrimination,  while  the 
memory  of  that  remarkable  man  is  still  redolent  throughout  it,  preserved 
with  pious  care  by  the  present  owner  who  has, further  beautified  the  place 
by  the  wonders  of  art  he  has  collected  within  it,  I  think  Chesterfield 
House  may  proudly  claim  to  be  incomparable  among  the  private  palaces 
of  London. 

•  This  fine  picture  was  exhibited  at  the  Old  Masters  in  1S94,  and  was  reproduced  in 
The  Graphic  for  February  9,  1895. 

-  I  can  find  no  specific  mention  of  this  picture  in  Leshe  and  Taylor's  Life  of  Sir  Joshua, 
but  in  December  1776,  Mr.  Gawler  paid  ^36,  15s.  od.  for  his  portrait,  probably,  from  this 
price,  only  a  bust  ;  and  the  same  picture  is  supposed  to  be  that  exhibited  at  the  Royal  Academy 
in  the  following  year,  as  "  Portrait  of  a  Gentleman"  ;  Master  Gawler  was  sitting  to  Sir  Joshua 
in  February  and  November  1777. 


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222     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Bunsen.  So  that  the  street  has  been  as  notable  for  its  residents  in  the 
past,  as  the  pages  of  the  Red  Book  show  it  to  be  to-day. 

But  interesting  as  have  been  the  associations  of  the  various  dwellings  in 
Curzon  Street,  Crewe  House  has  an  intrinsic  interest  of  its  own.  It  was 
erected  by  that  Edward  Shepherd  who  built  what  is  known  as  Shepherd's 
Market  about  the  year  1735,  and  who  was  also  responsible  for  "  many 
other  buildings  about  Mayfair,"  where  he  owned  and  rented  extensive 
property.  He  was  living  in  1708,  in  what  is  now  Crewe  House,  or,  more 
correctly  speaking,  in  a  smaller  residence  on  its  site,  for  it  has  been  obviously 
enlarged,  if  not  entirely  rebuilt,  since  his  day,  and  here  nearly  forty  years 
later,  to  be  exact,  on  September  24,  1747,  he  died,  a  notice  of  which 
event  will  be  found  in  the  Gentleman^ s  Magazine  for  the  following  October. 
In  this  year  there  appears  in  the  Rate  Books  this  entry  :  "  Mr.  Shepherd 
for  ground  rent  of  the  Faire  market  and  one  house  ^i,  is.  od.,"  the  "  one 
house  "  '  probably  referring  to  what  is  now  Crewe  House.  At  any  rate 
it  appears  that  Shepherd  held  a  lease  of  part  of  the  property  on  which 
the  mansion  stands  from  the  ground  landlord.  Sir  Nathaniel  Curzon  of 
Kedleston,  which  lease  seems  to  have  been  renewed  to  his  widow  some- 
where between  1747  and  1753,  on  the  i6th  of  June  of  which  latter  year 
a  fresh  lease  was  granted  by  Sir  Nathaniel  Curzon  of  the  first  part,  one 
John  Philips,  described  as  a  carpenter,  of  the  second  part,  and  the  Right 
Hon.  Charles  Lord  Viscount  Fane  of  the  third  part,  whereby  the  property 
was  demised  to  Lord  Fane  for  985  years  from  the  previous  25th  of  March 
1753,  and  this  lease  was  expressed  to  be  "  in  consideration  of  the  surrender 
of  a  former  lease  of  part  of  the  property  granted  to  Elizabeth  Shepherd, 
widow."  " 

It  is  not  improbable  that  Lord  Fane  bought  out  Mrs.  Shepherd's 
rights  in  the  property,  and  that  he  resided  here  for  a  number  of  years. 
He  was  the  eldest  son  of  the  first  Viscount  Fane  by  his  wife  Mary,  sister 
of  Lord  Stanhope,  and  was,  of  course,  one  of  the  family  whose  chiefs 
have  been,  since  the  days  of  James  I.,  Earls  of  Westmoreland.  After  his 
death  it  would  appear  that  his  widow.  Lady  Fane,  occupied  the  mansion, 
as  she  is  recorded  as  living  here  from  1776  to  1792.  She  was  followed 
in  her  tenancy  by  Lady  Reade,  and  an  interesting  record  of  the  latter 
lady's  sojourn  here  is  afforded  by  some  of  Sir  John  Soane's  drawings, 
now  preserved  in  the  Soane  Museum,  which  depict  certain  alterations 
made   in   the  mansion,  under   his   superintendence,  and  which   bear  his 

'  It  is  generally  stated  that  in  1750,  the  mansion  and  grounds  were  offered  for  sale 
at  /500,  but  this  not  improbably  means  that  that  sum  was  the  premium  asked  for  the 
existing  lease. 

-  For  this  information  I  am  indebted  to  the  kindness  of  Messrs.  Tylee  &  Co.  who,  at 
Lord  Crewe's  desire,  have  given  me  all  the  information  they  can  about  the  property. 


CREWE    HOUSE  223 

written  testimony  that  they  were  executed  "  for  Lady  Reade's  house  " 
in  1813. 

Lady  Reade  was  apparently  the  wife  of  Sir  John  Chandos  Reade, 
whose  name  appears  in  a  further  assignment  of  the  1753  lease  of  the 
property  which  took  place  on  May  27,  18 17,  and  which  was  made,  to 
use  the  legal  phraseology,  "  between  Richard  MaHphant  and  George 
Bramwell  of  the  first  part,  Sir  John  Chandos  Reade  of  the  second  part, 
and  the  Right  Hon.  Henry  James  Luttrell,  Earl  of  Carhampton,  of  the 
third  part."  This  confirms  the  statement  of  J.  T.  Smith  in  his  Streets 
of  London,  to  the  effect  that  Lord  Carhampton  bought  the  place.  Smith 
adds  that  this  occurred  after  Lady  Reade's  death,  and  he  affirms  that 
^500  was  the  price  then  given  for  it ;  but  it  would  seem  that  he  was  here 
confounding  dates,  unless,  indeed,  this  sum  was  the  amount  again  paid 
for  the  assignment  of  the  lease  as  a  premium.  In  any  case  this  sum  is 
insignificant  enough  to  startle  us  who  realise  the  enormously  increased 
value  of  property  in  this  quarter,  and  even  if,  as  is  probable,  the  house  was 
smaller  then  than  it  is  to-day,  this  fact  can  hardly  lessen  our  astonishment. 

The  Earl  of  Carhampton,  the  head  of  the  Luttrell  family,  now  became 
the  possessor  of  the  property.  His  natural  son  was  that  Henry  Luttrell 
whose  Advice  to  Julia  is  still  worth  reading,  and  whose  wit  and  con- 
versation were  considered  by  Gronow  to  far  outshine  those  of  his  friend 
Rogers.  Lord  Carhampton  was  the  hard-living,  eccentric  peer  who,  as 
Colonel  Luttrell,  had  opposed  Wilkes  at  the  Brentford  election,  and  had 
been  the  object  of  some  of  Junius's  bitter  attacks,  and  who  was  once 
Commander-in-Chief  of  the  forces  in  Ireland,  where,  as  he  once  told 
Napoleon,  then  First  Consul  at  one  of  whose  levees  he  was  presented, 
he  had  the  honour  of  serving  when  General  Hoche  landed  in  1797.^  Sir 
Nathaniel  Wraxall  tells  a  story  of  his  later  days  which  will,  I  think,  bear 
repetition,  as  a  proof,  if  nothing  else,  of  the  inadvisability  of  too  premature 
an  assumption  of  dead  men's  shoes.  "  In  18 12,"  says  the  Diarist,  "  soon 
after  the  restrictions  imposed  by  Parliament  on  the  Regent  were  with- 
drawn. Lord  Carhampton,  lying  in  an  apparently  hopeless  state  at  his 
house  in  Bruton  Street,  Berkeley  Square,  where  he  laboured  under  a 
dangerous  internal  malady,  inteUigence  of  his  decease  was  prematurely 
carried  to  Carlton  House.  The  Regent,  who  was  at  table  when  the 
report  arrived,  lending  rather  too  precipitate  credit  to  the  information, 
immediately  gave  away  his  regiment,  the  Carabineers,  to  one  of  the 
company,  a  general  officer,  and  he  lost  not  a  moment  in  kissing  his  royal 
highness's  hand  on  the  appointment.  No  sooner  had  the  report  reached 
Lord  Carhampton  than   he  instantly  despatched  a   friend  to  Pall  Mall, 

'  See  Fifty  Years  of  My  Lift:,  by  Lord  Albemarle. 


224     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF    LONDON 

empowered  to  deliver  a  message  to  the  Prince.  In  it  he  most  respect- 
fully protested,  that  far  from  being  a  dead  man,  he  hoped  to  surmount 
his  present  disease,  and  therefore  humbly  entreated  him  to  dispose  of 
any  other  regiment  in  the  service  except  the  Carabineers.  Lord  Car- 
hampton  humorously  added,  that  his  royal  highness  might  rest  assured 
he  would  give  special  directions  to  his  attendants  not  to  lose  a  moment 
after  it  could  be  ascertained  that  he  was  really  dead  in  conveying  the  news 
to  Carlton  House."  ^ 

Lord  Carhampton  did  not  retain  his  new  property  long,  for  on  the 
29th  September  1818,  he  assigned  his  lease  to  James  Archibald  Wortley, 
member  of  Parliament  for  York,  for  the  sum  of  ^12,000,  a  price  which  is 
alone  sufficient  to  show  the  extraordinary  increase  in  the  value  of  property 
in  this  neighbourhood  at  the  beginning  of  the  nineteenth  century. 

James  Archibald  Stuart-Wortley-Mackenzie,  to  give  him  his  proper 
list  of  names,  was  the  grandson  of  the  third  Earl  of  Bute,  and  great-grandson 
of  Lady  Mary  Wortley  Montagu — -whose  amusing  letters,  by-the-bye,  he 
edited — and  was  born  in  1776."  Commencing  life  in  the  Army,  he  gave  up 
the  art  of  "  living  by  being  killed,"  as  Carlyle  terms  it,  and  entered  Parlia- 
ment in  1797,  where  he  distinguished  himself  till  1826,  when  he  was 
raised  to  the  peerage  as  Baron  Wharncliffe  of  Wortley.  For  a  few  months, 
from  1834,  he  was  Lord  Keeper  of  the  Privy  Seal,  and  in  1841,  occupied 
the  high  office  of  Lord  President  of  the  Council,  as  does  the  present  noble 
owner  of  his  old  home,  the  Earl  of  Crewe,  so  that  there  is  a  certain  appro- 
priateness in  the  fact  that  the  latter  now  possesses  the  house. 

Mr.  Stuart-Wortley,  as  he  then  was,  married  in  March  1795,  Lady 
Caroline  Crichton,  daughter  of  the  first  Earl  of  Erne,  and  died  in  1845, 
having  just  celebrated  his  golden  wedding.  Lady  Wharncliffe  surviving 
him  a  little  over  ten  years.  According  to  Lady  Dorothy  Neville's  last 
amusing  book.  Lord  Wharncliffe  used  frequently  to  entertain  the  staff  of 
the  Ozvl  at  dinner  here,  and  he  occasionally  contributed  acrostics  to  that 
paper.  The  Ozvl,  it  is  well  known,  was  started  by  Evelyn  Ashley,  James 
Stuart-Wortley,  and  Lord  Glenesk,  other  contributors  being  the  Hon. 
Mrs.  Norton,  Bernal  Osborne,  Vernon  Harcourt,  A.  Hayward,  Lord 
Houghton,  and  Wilberforce,  Bishop  of  Oxford. 

Wharncliffe  House,  as  the  mansion  was  then  called,  remained  in  the 
possession  of  the  Stuart-Wortley  family  till  the  death  of  the  first  Earl  in 
1899,  some  time  after  which  event  the  Earl  of  Crewe  purchased  it  for 
^90,000,  and  changed  its  name  to  that  which  it  now  bears. 

'  Posthumous  Memoirs^  vol.  ii.  p.  129. 

^  The  additional  name  of  Wortley  was  assumed  by  the  father  of  the  first  Baron  Wharncliffe, 
as  was  that  of  Mackenzie,  but  the  latter  only  for  himself  and  the  successive  heirs  to  his  estate. 
That  of  Montagu  was  prefixed  by  the  late  Earl,  and  his  brother  the  father  of  the  present  Earl. 


CREWE   HOUSE  225 

Crewe  House,  as  I  began  by  saying,  stands  in  a  pleasant  oasis  of  trees 
and  shrubs,  lying  back  from  the  main  thoroughfare.  From  the  latter  it 
is  not  only  screened  by  a  wall,  but,  an  unusual  adjunct  in  town,  by  a 
hedge,  and  this  together  with  the  creeper-covered  entrance  lodge  gives 
it  a  rus  in  urbe  appearance  which  is  unique  among  London  houses.  The 
mansion  itself  is  a  wide-fronted  building,  decorated  by  four  Ionic  columns 
and  by  large  semicircular  bays  at  either  end,  and  is  eloquent  of  the  early 
Georgian  days  when  young  men  of  family  made  the  grand  tour,  and 
returned  home  fuU  of  the  beauties  of  Greece  and  Rome  which  they  did 
what  they  could  to  apply  to  the  domestic  architecture  of  this  country. 
Those  were  the  days  when  the  Society  of  Dilettanti  was  a  power  in  the 
land,  when  Brettingham  and  Gavin  Hamilton  purveyed  antiques  from 
calmly  indifferent  countries,  and  Nicholas  Revett  and  "  Athenian  "  Stuart 
first  set  that  fashion  for  exploring  the  dead  ground  of  ancient  Greece 
and  Rome  which  was  for  a  time  followed  so  assiduously. 

Although  Crewe  House  does  not  claim  to  be  a  striking  example  of 
the  fashion  then  inaugurated,  it  at  least  remains  as  a  proof  of  the  earnest- 
ness with  which  cultivated  men  then  threw  themselves  into  the  quest 
for  examples  of  the  architecture  of  ancient  times.  Nothing  can  be  said 
against  such  an  enthusiasm  ;  and  if  there  be  those  who  are  critical  over 
the  application  of  such  architecture  to  the  everyday  needs  of  a  country 
so  alien  in  every  respect  from  the  life  and  thought  of  early  Greece  or 
ancient  Italy  as  England,  it  was  at  least  a  saner  and  more  defensible 
movement  than  that  which  prompted  Walpole  and  his  school  to  imitate 
in  stucco  the  solidity  of  Gothic,  and  to  apply  what  was  appropriate  to 
castles  to  the  architectural  adornment  of  suburban  villas. 

In  old  records  of  Crewe  House  it  is  generally  described  as  being  "  over 
against  the  chapel."  Now  this  is  not  quite  so  distinctive  an  address  as 
one  might  at  first  suppose,  for  although  Mayfair  or  Curzon  Chapel  was 
exactly  opposite,  its  site  now  being  occupied  by  the  massive  building 
known  as  Sunderland  House,  erected  for  the  Duke  and  Duchess  of 
Marlborough  a  few  years  since,  the  other  and  very  notorious  Keith's 
so-caUed  "  chapel  "  also  stood  close  by. 

Mayfair  Chapel,  an  ugly  enough  building,  was  erected  in  1720,  and  is 
perhaps  chiefly  notable  in  having  had,  as  its  first  incumbent,  the  notorious 
Rev.  Alexander  Keith,  who  performed  marriages  here  without  the 
formalities  of  banns  or  licence,  and  made  a  splendid  thing  out  of  it,  until 
outraged  authority  put  a  stop  to  his  activity  in  1742.  But  such  a  man 
as  Keith  was  hardly  likely  to  be  hindered  by  measures  which  were,  it  would 
seem,  rather  half-hearted,  and  he  very  soon  afterwards  established  a 
chapel  close  by  on  the  other  side  of  the  street.      And  not  only  this,  he 


226     THE  PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

even  had  the  audacity  to  advertise  his  new  place  of  business — for  it  was 
little  else — and  in  order  that  those  requiring  his  assistance  should  not 
have  the  excuse  of  not  knowing  his  whereabouts,  he  set  forth,  in  the 
Daily  Post  of  July  20,  1744,  the  fact  that  "  the  little  new  chapel  in 
Mayfair  ...  is  in  the  corner  house,  opposite  to  the  city  end  of  the  great 
chapel,  and  within  ten  yards  of  it,"  and  added  the  information  that  "  the 
minister  (himself)  and  clerk  live  in  the  same  corner  house  where  the  Httle 
chapel  is,"  concluding  with  the  remark :  "  that  it  may  be  better  known 
there  is  a  porch  at  the  door  like  a  country  church  porch."  Here  for 
one  guinea  inclusive  Keith  was  prepared  "  at  any  hour  till  four  in  the 
afternoon  "  to  splice  amorous  couples  with  a  celerity  and  informality 
that  carries  us  in  imagination  rather  to  Gretna  Green  or  the  Fleet  than 
to  the  heart  of  fashionable  London.  Keith  was  imprisoned,  but  un- 
daunted. During  his  incarceration  his  wife  died,  and  he  had  her  body 
embalmed  until  he  should  be  able  to  attend  her  funeral ;  and  he  even 
went  the  length  of  making  her  decease  a  means  of  fresh  advertisement  for 
his  chapel  where  he  had  arranged  for  a  substitute  to  carry  on  his  ille- 
galities. When  he  was  first  told  that  the  Bishops  would  put  a  stop  to 
his  action,  he  is  said  to  have  exclaimed  :  "  Let  them ;  and  I  will  buy 
two  or  three  acres  of  ground,  and,  by  God,  I'll  underbury  them  all." 

The  name  of  those  who  took  advantage  of  Keith's  impudence  is  legion  ; 
no  less  than  7000  marriages  (if  they  can  be  so  termed)  are  recorded  as 
being  celebrated  by  him  or  his  myrmidons,  in  three  old  registers  that 
survive,  although  this  must  have  represented  but  a  tithe  of  those  per- 
formed ;  indeed  it  is  stated  that  no  less  than  6000  persons  were  married 
in  a  single  year,  until  the  Marriage  Act  of  1754  stopped  even  his  activity. 

It  was  here  that  the  Duke  of  Hamilton  married  Miss  Gunning  in 
1752,  "  with  a  ring  of  the  bed  curtain,"  as  Horace  Walpole  relates  in  a 
frequently  quoted  passage  ;  Lord  George  Bentinck  was  joined  to  Mary 
Davies  here  in  the  following  year,  and,  to  mention  no  others,  it  is  said 
that  on  the  very  day  before  the  Marriage  Act  came  into  force,  no  less 
than  sixty-one  couples  were  "  spliced  "  by  Keith's  unhallowed  hands. 

The  moment  of  Keith's  greatest  activity  was  that  during  which  the 
Mayfair,  from  which  the  whole  of  this  district  takes  its  name,  was  held 
here,  and  which,  dating  from  the  time  of  Charles  II.,  was  continued 
without  intermission  till  1708,  and  then,  after  some  years'  cessation,  had 
an  intermittent  existence  for  another  hundred  years,  being  finally  abolished 
in  1809,  as  the  result  of  complaints  and  representations  made  by  Lord 
Coventry,  who  lived  close  by. 

The  history  of  Mayfair  is  a  fascinating  subject,  but  not  one  that  must 
detain  us  here  ;    indeed  we  have  loitered  too  long  already  outside  Crewe 


CREWE   HOUSE  227 

House  in  the  not  very  edifying  company  of  Mr.  Keith  and  his  delin- 
quencies. 

Like  all  large  houses  in  London,  Crewe  House  is  filled  with  artistic 
treasures,  and  although  there  are  many  which  have  an  historic  provenance, 
the  greater  number  have  a  claim  to  notice  as  being  family  heirlooms, 
which  gives  them  an  added  interest.  Considering  what  a  large  space 
Lord  Crewe's  father — the  Monckton-Milnes,  Lord  Houghton,  of  an 
earlier  day — occupied  in  the  social,  political,  and  literary  life  of  his  times, 
it  would  be  strange  if  we  did  not  find,  in  this  house,  a  wealth  of  remini- 
scences of  that  remarkable  man,  and  here  in  the  Entrance  Hall  hangs  his 
portrait  by  Rudolph  Lehmann,  while  in  the  Drawing  Room,  the  windows 
of  which  look  out  on  to  the  garden  over  whose  walls  the  Duke  of  Marl- 
borough's stately  stone  residence  rears  its  ample  proportions,  hang  a 
number  of  portraits  of  the  forbears  of  that  most  literary  of  peers. 

Here  are  Sir  Robert  Milnes  and  his  wife — Lady  Milnes,  daughter  and 
co-heir  of  Joseph  Poole  of  Drax  Abbey — in  full  length,  by  Romney ;  and 
close  by,  Mrs.  Cunliffe  Offly,  by  Sir  Thomas  Lawrence  ;  the  dog  which 
she  nurses  being  from  the  hand  of  Landseer  ;  an  earlier  portrait  of  the 
same  lady,  when  yet  Miss  Emma  Crewe,  is  by  Hoppner  ;  and  the  portrait 
of  her  husband,  Mr.  Cunliffe  Offly,  by  Harlow,  hangs  on  the  opposite  wall. 
Two  more  noticeable  family  portraits  are  those  of  John,  first  Lord 
Crewe,^  and  his  wife  Frances,  Lady  Crewe,  daughter  of  Fulke  Greville,  of 
Wilbury,  Wilts.,  by  Lawrence ;  a  beautiful  portrait  of  Madame  Rodes,^ 
by  Gainsborough,  a  picture  of  a  young  boy,  entitled  "  Edwin,"  by  Wright 
of  Derby,  and  two  landscapes  by  Zuccarelli,  complete  the  pictorial  decora- 
tion of  the  Drawing  Room,  in  which  French  furniture  and  bric-a-brac, 
including  beautiful  snuff-boxes  (preserved  in  glass-topped  tables),  are 
lighted  up  by  two  mirrors,  one  of  which  hangs  over  the  mantelpiece,  in 
elaborately  carved  and  gilded  frames,  giving  a  touch  of  Italy  to  the  apart- 
ment which  the  deeply  moulded  domed  ceiling  dominates. 

From  this  Drawing  Room  two  other  apartments  are  reached,  opening 
into  each  other,  and  forming  one  of  the  delightful  vistas  which  are  so 
pleasant  a  feature  in  many  of  the  larger  London  houses.  The  Boudoir, 
with  one  of  those  recesses  beloved  by  Georgian  builders,  is  the  room 
seen  through  an  intervening  apartment  known  as  the  Central  Drawing 
Room,  in  which  hangs  Romney's  speaidng  portrait  of  Miss  Hannah  Milnes, 
and  from  which  opens  an  octagonal  winter  garden.  The  Boudoir,  with 
its  Louis  Quinze  and  Louis  Seize  furniture,  and  its  peaceful  outlook  on 

'  He  was  born  in  1742,  and  died  1829  ;  and  had  been  created  a  peer  in  1806. 
'  Sir  Godfrey  Rodes  of  Great  Houghton,  of  whom  there  is  a  portrait  at  Fryston,  was  the 
direct  ancestor  of  Lord  Houghton. 


22  8     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

to  the  gardens,  is,  indeed,  one  must  think,  named  on  the  same  lucus  a 
non  lucendo  principle  on  which  Lord  Chesterfield  once  said  his  similarly- 
called  room  at  Chesterfield  House  was.  Miniatures  of  members  of  both 
Lord  and  Lady  Crewe's  family,  old  theatrical  prints,  bijouterie,  and  the 
thousand  and  one  costly  trifles  that  help  to  furnish  a  room,  are  here  ;  and 
here,  too,  is  a  marvellous  writing-table  in  marqueterie,  the  work  of  the 
great  Andr^  BouUe. 

There  are,  too,  several  pictures  of  great  interest  in  this  room,  among 
which  I  must  particularly  note  a  small  but  very  fine  portrait  of  Miss 
Emma  Crewe  by  Gainsborough,  and  a  portrait  of  Fanny  Burney  by 
Downman,  by  whom  there  is  another  head  of  a  young  girl,  not  impro- 
bably, though  the  fact  is  not  stated,  one  of  the  numerous  portraits  of  the 
ladies  of  the  Crewe  family,  which  the  artist  is  known  to  have  executed 
during  the  year  1777.  There  is,  besides,  a  noticeable  portrait  of  Lord 
Chesterfield,  as  well  as  "  Le  Jardin  d' Amour,"  by  Rubens,  a  small  copy 
or  possibly  a  replica  of  the  celebrated  picture  now  in  the  Prado,  which 
Philip  IV.  of  Spain  caused  to  be  hung  in  his  bedroom  ;  and  there  is  also 
Clarkson  Stanfield's  "  Bridge  of  Angers,"  among  other  works  which  help  to 
beautify  the  room. 

From  the  Boudoir  one  enters  the  Library,  which  until  recently  was 
rather  sombre  with  its  black  ebony  bookcases  and  dark  wall-paper,  but 
which  has  now  been  converted  into  a  bright,  almost  gay,  room.  The 
relatively  few  books  here  are  chiefly  those  required  for  reference  and 
official  work.  Lord  Crewe's  fine  Library  being  at  Fryston,  but  there  are 
two  pictures  of  peculiar  interest  in  this  room  ;  one  is  the  portrait  of 
John  Keats  at  Wentworth  Place,  seated  and  holding  a  book,  by  Severn, 
another  example  of  which  is  in  the  National  Portrait  Gallery ;  the  other, 
Stone's  drawing  of  Rogers,  Mrs.  Norton,  and  Mrs.  Phipps,  sitting  talking 
round  a  table  ;  and  the  three-quarter-length  portrait  of  Miss  Amabel 
Crewe,  afterwards  Lady  Houghton,  mother  of  the  present  Lord  Crewe, 
by  Sir  William  Boxall,  has  an  intrinsic  interest  in  this  house,  although 
as  a  work  of  art  it  can  only  be  considered  as  mediocre. 

The  Dining  Room  on  the  west  side  of  the  house  is  a  similar  room 
to  the  Library,  but  much  longer.  Two  pillars  support  the  ceihng  at  the 
back  of  the  room  ;  and  here  again,  as  in  the  Library,  a  change  of  decorative 
note  has  largely  improved  the  lighting  and  general  appearance  of  the 
apartment,  which  was  formerly  panelled  with  a  dado  in  rich  dark  oak,  and 
possessed  a  sideboard  of  massive  proportions  and  other  decorations  en 
suite  ;  now,  however,  white  is  the  prevailing  tone,  and  an  air  of  hghtness 
has  been  given  to  the  room  which  has  greatly  added  to  its  charm. 
Among  the  pictures  which  hang  here,  is  a  portrait  of  George  Canning, 


CREWE  HOUSE  229 

as  a  young  man,  by  Hickey,  and  George,  Prince  of  Wales,  by  Hoppner ; 
and  there  is  an  interesting  work  by  Stubbs  representing  R.  S.  Milnes, 
Esq.,  M.P.,  on  horseback  ;  although  it  is  the  two  Romney  portraits  of 
the  first  Lord  Crewe,  and  of  Mrs.  Shore  Milnes,  that  will  chiefly  attract 
the  lover  of  the  beautiful  in  art. 

Compared  with  many  of  the  great  mansions  I  am  dealing  with  in 
this  book,  Crewe  House  itself  is  relatively  small,  and  its  contents,  beautiful 
as  they  are,  few  in  number ;  but,  on  the  other  hand,  the  area  occupied  by 
the  mansion  and  its  gardens  is,  considering  its  position  in  the  heart  of 
Mayfair,  an  unusually  large  one,  and  the  residence  has  been  for  the  last 
hundred  and  seventy  years  such  a  landmark,  having  existed  at  a  time 
when  all  between  it  and  Piccadilly  was  as  yet  unbuilt  over,  that  it  has, 
I  think,  for  these  reasons  alone  a  right  to  be  included  among  the  great 
houses  of  London  ;  added  to  this  is  the  fact  that  from  its  connection 
with  Lord  WTiarncliffe  in  the  past,  and  the  Earl  of  Crewe  in  the  present, 
it  is  able  to  take  its  place  among  those  mansions  which  may  be  regarded 
as  political  centres,  whose  walls  have  listened  to  history  in  the  making, 
and  whose  floors  have  felt  the  tread  of  generations  of  illustrious  feet. 

As  I  write  there  is  an  attempt  to  sell  Crewe  House,  with  its  gardens 
extending  to  an  area  of  over  29,000  square  feet  ;  and  as  the  particulars 
tell  me,  comprising  the  choicest  site  in  Mayfair,  and  one  of  the  most 
important  in  the  west-end.  Should  the  old  house  and  its  unique  grounds 
pass  into  the  hands  of  some  one  buying  it  as  a  residence,  all  will  be  well  ; 
but  if,  as  is  more  likely  when  we  look  round  and  see  what  has  happened 
in  analogous  cases — ^in  that  of  Harcourt  House,  for  instance — the  property 
is  purchased  for  building  development,  then  we  may  expect  one  day 
in  the  near  future  to  see  palatial  flats  dominating  this  spot  and  perhaps 
equalling  in  solidity,  and  more  than  equalling  in  size,  Sunderland  House 
opposite.  In  this  case  what  has  been  here  set  down  about  Crewe  House 
will,  I  hope,  serve  to  recall  its  past  outlines,  and  the  interest  of  its  contents 
to  those  to  whom  it  has  for  long  been  a  landmark,  and  to  those  who  have 
so  often  gathered  together  within  its  hospitable  walls. 

Nothing  is  so  difficult  to  remember  as  the  appearance  of  a  building 
that  has  been  demolished  ;  the  mind,  apparently,  is  so  much  more  capable 
of  receiving  new  impressions  than  of  retaining  old  ones  ;  and  it  is  for 
this  reason  that  any  attempt  to  preserve  the  features  of  some  building 
which  is  likely  to  become  the  victim  of  time's  destroying  hand,  contributes 
something  to  the  rehabilitation  of  the  ever-changing  features  of  our  great 
city.  J.  T.  Smith  was  one  of  the  few,  in  an  earlier  day,  who  realised  this 
fact,  which  luckily  in  these  times  is  thought  more  important  than  was 


2  30     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF  LONDON 

formerly  the  case  ;  and  nowadays,  when  the  various  societies  that  exist 
for  this  purpose  are  unable  to  actually  preserve  intact  some  threatened 
landmark,  there  is  at  least  an  endeavour  made  to  perpetuate,  by  pen  and 
pencil,  the  vanishing  points  of  interest  in  the  metropolis.  It  is  as 
important  that  this  should  be  done  in  the  west-end  as  in  the  City 
itself ;  but  there  are  still  many  who  seem  to  think  that  architectural  and 
historical  interest  almost  ceases  this  side  of  Charing  Cross ;  forgetting 
that  much  of  the  best  work  of  the  Adams,  to  mention  but  these,  was  done 
in  this  region  ;  and  unmindful  of  the  fact  that  the  social  life  under  the 
Georges,  with  which  so  much  of  this  western  part  of  the  town  is 
identified,  is  practically  synonymous  with  the  historic  annals  of  that 
fascinating  period. 


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at  a  cost  of  "  neere  f  1,0,000"  as  Evelyn  tells  us.  on  eround  ' 


l^ 


clOK. 


232     THE    PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

kitchen  and  stables  are  ill  placed,  and  the  corridore  worse,  having  no 
report  to  the  wings  they  joyne  to.  For  the  rest,  the  fore-court  is  noble  ; 
so  are  the  stables  ;  and  above  all  the  gardens,  which  are  incomparable 
by  reason  of  the  inequalitie  of  the  ground,  and  a  pretty  -piscina.  The 
holly  hedges  on  the  terrace  I  advised  the  planting  of.  The  porticos  are 
in  imitation  of  a  house  described  by  Palladio,  but  it  happens  to  be  the 
worst  in  his  booke  ;  though  my  good  friend,  Mr.  Hugh  May,  his  Lord- 
ship's architect,  effected  it." 

This  description  can  be  supplemented  by  that  given  in  the  New  View 
of  London  for  1708,  in  which  we  are  also  told  that  "  the  house  is  built  of 
brick,  adorned  with  stone  pilasters,  and  an  entablature  and  pitched  pedi- 
ment, all  of  the  Corinthian  order,  under  which  is  a  figure  of  Britannia 
carved  in  stone.  At  some  distance  on  the  east  side  is  the  kitchen  and 
laundry,  and  on  the  west  side  stables  and  lodging-rooms,  which  adjoin 
the  mansion  by  brick  walls,  and  two  circular  galleries,  each  elevated  on 
columns  of  the  Corinthian  order,  where  are  two  ambulatories." 

The  reader  will  probably  consider  this  extract  sufficient.  How  the 
writer  revels  in  his  "  entablatures  "  and  his  "  Corinthian  orders "  !  With 
what  unction  he  mouths  out,  ore  rotundo,  his  "  pitched  pediments,"  and 
his  "  ambulatories  "  !     Was  he,  one  wonders,  paid  like  Dumas,  by  the  line  ? 

Evelyn,  as  we  have  seen,  found  no  httle  fault  with  old  Berkeley  House  ; 
Ralph,  on  the  other  hand,  considers  it  not  only  "  very  elegant,"  but  goes 
so  far  as  to  say  that  it  was  "  quite  worthy  of  the  masterhand  of  Inigo 
Jones,"  which,  when  we  remember  Ralph's  habitual  fault-finding  with 
nearly  every  building  in  London,  is  extraordinarily  high  praise  ;  while 
Macky  notes  that  at  the  back,  it  "  hath  a  beautiful  vista  to  Hampstead 
and  the  adjacent  country  "  ! 

Lord  Berkeley  of  Stratton  died  in  1678,  but  his  widow  continued  to 
reside  in  the  house.  It  is  probable  that  the  noble  grounds,  which,  we 
must  remember,  formerly  not  only  contained  Devonshire  House  and  its 
gardens  as  we  know  them,  but  also  the  whole  of  Berkeley  Square  and  the 
adjacent  streets,  had  attracted  the  eyes  of  the  builders  even  then,  and  that 
tempting  offers  had  been  made  to  Lady  Berkeley  ;  and,  indeed,  an  entry 
by  Evelyn  in  his  Diary  for  June  12,  1684,  confirms  this.  Says  he:  "I 
went  to  advise  and  give  directions  about  the  building  two  streets  in 
Berkeley  Gardens,  reserving  the  house  and  as  much  of  the  garden  as  the 
breadth  of  the  house.  In  the  meantime,  I  could  not  but  deplore  that 
sweete  place  (by  far  the  most  noble  gardens,  courts,  and  accommodations, 
stately  porticoes,  &c.,  anywhere  about  towne)  should  be  so  much 
straightened  and  turned  into  tenements."  He,  however,  finds  some 
small   consolation   in   the   fact   that   Lord   Clarendon's   great    place   had 


DEVONSHIRE    HOUSE  233 

met  with  a  worse  fate,  and  considers  that  it  afforded  "  some  excuse  for 
my  Lady  Berkeley's  resolution  of  letting  out  her  ground  also." 

The  price  paid  staggered  even  Evelyn's  calm  philosophy,  "  advancing 
neere  ;^iooo  per  ann.  in  mere  ground  rents  "  ;  "  to  such  a  mad  intemper- 
ance was  the  age  come  of  building  about  a  citty,"  he  exclaims,  "  by  far 
too  disproportionate  already  to  the  nation."  What  would  he  have  said 
to  the  size  of  London  of  to-day,  and  the  prices  cheerfully  paid  for  ground 
in  it  ? 

A  few  years  later  Berkeley  House  was  to  have  a  royal  occupant,  for 
the  Princess  Anne,  resisting  every  attempt  made  by  her  sister  Queen 
Mary  to  induce  her  to  dismiss  her  confidante.  Lady  Marlborough, 
was  forced  to  leave  her  lodgings  in  the  Cockpit,  and  on  doing  so  established 
herself  here,  with  her  husband,  Prince  George  of  Denmark ;  ^  although 
she  did  not  entirely  give  up  her  former  residence,  still  using  it  as  a  lodging 
for  some  of  her  servants. 

A  letter  written  by  the  Princess  to  Lady  Marlborough,  and  dated 
May  22,  1692,  from  Sion  House,  indicates  the  moment  when  she  took 
possession  of  Berkeley  House.  "  Some  time  next  week,  I  believe,  it  will 
be  time  for  me  to  go  to  London,  to  make  an  end  of  that  business  of 
Berkeley  House."  She  had  been  in  negotiation  for  renting  it  during 
the  quarrel  with  her  sister,  and  when  this  became  acute  she  hastened 
to  complete  the  matter.  Among  the  Lansdowne  papers  in  the  British 
Museum,  there  is  an  amusing  squib,  entitled  "  The  Bellman  of  Piccadilly's 
Verses  to  the  Princess  Anne  of  Denmark,"  which  refers  to  her  Royal 
Highness's  residence  in  Berkeley  House  ;    the  lines  run  thus  : — 

"  Welcome,  great  princess  !  to  this  lowly  place, 
Where  injured  royalty  must  hide  its  face  ; 
Your  praise  each  day  by  every  man  is  sung, 
And  in  the  night  by  me  shall  here  be  rung. 
God  bless  our  Queen  !  and  yet  I  may,  moreover. 
Own  you  our  queen  in  Berkeley  Street  and  Dover  : 
May  you  and  your  great  prince  live  numerous  years  ! 
This  is  the  subject  of  our  loyal  prayers." 

Here,  says  Miss  Strickland,  "  the  Princess,  divested  of  every  mark  of  her 
royal  rank,  continued  to  live,  where  she  and  her  favourite  amused  them- 
selves with  superintending  their  nurseries,  playing  at  cards,  and  talking 
treason  against  Queen  Mary  and  '  her  Dutch  Cahban,'  as  they  called 
the  hero  of  Nassau." 

'  During  the  Princess's  residence  here  a  silver  cistern,  valued  at  ^750,  was  stolen,  and  the 
theft  was  advertised  in  No.  94  of  The  Postman  for  1695.  The  cistern  was  afterwards  found 
in  the  possession  of  a  distiller  in  Twickenham,  who  was  tried  and  convicted  of  the  theft. 


234     THE  PRIVATE    PALACES    OF    LONDON 

Thus  matters  went  on,  until  the  fatal  illness  of  the  Queen,  when 
Berkeley  House  was  agog  with  excitement,  for  the  Princess  Anne  was 
heir  to  the  throne,  and  although  she  personally  held  no  communication 
with  the  Court,  the  news  of  the  Queen's  illness,  and  aU  the  phases  of 
her  malady,  filtered  through  from  the  servants  at  the  Palace  to  those  in 
Piccadilly.  Mary  breathed  her  last  on  December  28,  1694  (old  style),* 
but  on  the  preceding  Christmas  Day,  when  her  state  was  known  to  be 
hopeless,  vast  crowds  of  courtiers  and  time-servers,  who  had  hitherto 
treated  Anne  with  studied  neglect,  flocked  to  pay  their  court  to  the  rising 
sun  at  Berkeley  House.  Mutatis  mutandis,  it  was  not  dissimilar  from 
that  "  rush  of  the  whole  Court "  rushing  as  in  a  wager,  with  a  sound 
"  terrible  and  absolutely  like  thunder,"  with  which  the  French  Court 
hastened  from  the  death-bed  of  Louis  the  well-beloved  to  greet  his 
successor !  An  amusing  incident  is  said  to  have  occurred  on  one  of 
these  occasions.  Lord  Carnarvon,  a  half-witted  peer,  was  annoyed  at 
being  surrounded  by  all  these  tuft-hunters,  and  as  he  stood  close  to  Anne, 
took  the  opportunity  of  remarking  aloud  to  her  :  "  I  hope  your  Royal  High- 
ness will  remember  that  I  always  came  to  wait  on  you  when  none  of  this 
company  did."  No  little  amusement  was  caused  by  this,  but  some  of 
the  courtiers  were  put  a  good  deal  out  of  countenance  by  it. 

At  last  even  William  recognised  that  further  open  hostility  would  be 
useless,  and  with  a  letter  of  condolence  to  him  from  Anne,  the  breach,  if 
not  actually  closed,  was  to  all  appearances,  cemented.  He  received  her  at 
Kensington  Palace,  where,  owing  to  her  then  weak  state  of  health,  she  was 
carried  in  her  chair  actually  into  the  royal  presence  ;  he  bestowed  the 
Garter  on  her  son,  the  Duke  of  Gloucester  ;  and  he  offered  her  St.  James's 
as  a  residence.  It  would  appear  that  the  Princess  took  advantage  of  this 
last  favour  in  the  spring  of  1696,  when  her  connection  with  Berkeley 
House  came  to  an  end. 

In  the  following  year  the  property  was  purchased  by  the  first  Duke 
of  Devonshire.  William  Cavendish,  the  son  of  the  third  Earl  of  Devon- 
shire, was  born  in  1641,  and  succeeded  to  the  earldom  in  1684  ;  he  had 
acted  as  cup-bearer  to  the  Queen  on  the  occasion  of  James  the  Second's 
coronation,  but  this  did  not  prevent  his  enjoying  the  favour  of  WiUiam, 
under  whom  he  filled  various  high  offices,  and  by  whom  he  was  created 
Marquis  of  Harrington  and  Duke  of  Devonshire,  in  1694.  He  married 
Lady  Mary  Butler,  daughter  of  the  first  Duke  of  Ormonde,  and  was  con- 
sidered by  Macky,  "  the  finest  and  handsomest  gentleman  of  his  time." 
Burnet,  too,  notices  the  "  softness  in  his  exterior  deportment,"  but  adds 
that  "  there  was  nothing  within  that  was  answerable." 

'  The  French  date  her  death  January  7,  1695. 


DEVONSHIRE    HOUSE  235 

The  purchase  of  Berkeley  House  seems  to  have  been  attended  by 
some  initial  difficulties,  as  it  appears  that  the  Marquis  of  Normanby 
had  also  been  in  treaty  for  it,  and  indeed  considered  that  he  had 
bought  it.  Narcissus  Luttrell,  whose  diary  is  a  storehouse  for  this  sort 
of  information,  sheds  some  light  on  the  matter.  Thus  we  learn  that,  on 
December  5,  1696,  the  Lords  debated  the  question,  and  referred  it  to  a 
committee  which  was  to  make  its  report  the  following  week.  On  the 
loth  of  the  month,  "  their  Lordships  debated  the  matter  of  privilege 
between  the  Duke  of  Devon,  Marquess  of  Normanby,  and  the  Lord 
Berkley  about  the  sale  of  Berkly  House,  and  ordered  them  all  to  waive 
their  privilege  after  this  sessions  ;  but  the  proceedings  in  law  may  go  on, 
which  the  Duke  of  Devon  has  already  done."  The  Chancery  proceedings, 
however,  seem  to  have  been  as  much  delayed  as  those  of  the  House  of 
Lords,  and  on  May  13,  1697,  we  find  the  case  being  put  off  "till  next  term." 
However,  on  July  7,  a  long  discussion  took  place  between  the  Duke  and 
the  Marquis  about  Berkeley  House  "  (both  pretending  to  have  bought 
it),  but  it  proving  very  tedious,  the  council  for  the  former  only  was  heard." 
On  October  28,  another  long  hearing  was  held  before  the  Lord  Chancellor 
and  the  two  Chief  Justices,  and  after  counsel  had  been  fully  heard,  judgment 
was  reserved  for  a  fortnight ;  but,  adds  Luttrell,  "  most  beleive  twil  be 
for  his  grace,"  and  so  it  turned  out,  for  on  January  I,  1697-8,  Luttrell 
concludes  with  this  entry  :  "  Thursday  last  the  lord  chancellor,  assisted 
by  two  chief  justices,  further  heard  the  matter  depending  between  the 
Duke  of  Devon  and  the  Marquesse  of  Normanby  about  the  purchase  of 
Berkley  House  ;  and  after  mature  deliberation,  decreed  it  for  the  Duke 
of  Devon." 

On  the  following  31st  of  March  the  Duke  entertained  the  King  at 
dinner  here  ;  and  his  grace  must  have  set  out  from  here,  when  he  met 
Colonel  Culpepper,  at  "  the  auction-house  in  St.  Alban's  Street,"  on 
June  30,  in  the  same  year,  and  caned  him,  "  for  being  troublesome 
to  him  in  the  last  reign  "  ;  while  Luttrell  notes  that  Count  Tallard,  the 
French  Ambassador,  dined  at  Berkeley  House  with  the  Duke,  on 
January  3,  1699-1700.  It  is,  indeed,  but  natural  to  suppose  that  the 
place  was  as  much  the  resort  of  fashion  and  the  centre  of  hospitality  in 
William  the  Third's  reign,  as  its  successor,  Devonshire  House,  has  been 
in  our  own  day. 

The  first  Duke  of  Devonshire  died  here,  on  August  18,  1707,  having 
received  the  last  rites  of  the  Church  at  the  hands  of  the  Bishop  of  Ely, 
and  having  left  "  orders  to  pay  his  just  debts,  and  for  that  end  has  all 
his  Jewells,  and  the  finest  sett  of  plate  in  England,"  says  Luttrell. 

The  second  Duke,  who  occupied  almost  as  many  high  offices  as  his 


236     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

father,  succeeded  to  the  property,  and  when  in  London  Uved  at  Devon- 
shire House,  as  it  had  now  begun  to  be  called.  Here  he  died,  on  June 
4,  1729,  when  he,  in  turn,  was  succeeded  by  his  son,  the  third  Duke, 
during  whose  tenure  of  the  title  the  disastrous  fire  which  entirely 
destroyed  the  house,  occurred  here.  Some  alterations  were  in  progress, 
when,  owing  to  the  carelessness  of  one  of  the  workmen  employed,  a 
glue-pot  which  had  been  left  on  the  fire,  boiled  over,  and  the  escape 
of  flaming  liquid  set  fire  to  some  woodwork.  Every  effort  was  made 
to  extinguish  the  flames,  and  to  save  the  more  valuable  contents,  and 
luckily  the  library,  pictures,  and  other  objects  of  art  were  rescued, 
mainly  through  the  help  of  a  body  of  the  Guards,  who,  under  the 
direction  of  the  Earl  of  Albemarle,  not  only  saved  many  rarities  from 
the  flames,  but  also  preserved  them  from  the  hardly  less  rapacious  hands 
of  the  mob  which  had  gathered  round  the  burning  pile.  Among  the 
crowd  was  Frederick,  Prince  of  Wales,  as  well  as  m.any  people  of  dis- 
tinction who,  in  those  days,  were  always  attracted  by  such  a  scene. 
Ralph  a  -propos  of  this  catastrophe  says :  "  Had  his  grace's  servants  re- 
collected their  master's  motto,  Cavendo  tutus,  it  (the  house)  had  still  re- 
tained its  ancient  splendour  ;  but  as  they  did  not  understand  the  beauties 
of  Inigo  Jones's  ^  architecture,  so  they  were  not  concerned  for  its 
preservation  "  ;  and  he  adds,  "  'Tis  our  happiness  to  have  remembered 
it  as  it  formerly  stood,  great  in  simplicity,  and  elegant  in  plainness." 

The  loss  to  the  Duke  was  estimated  at  not  less  than  ^30,000,  while,  in 
addition,  the  statue  of  Britannia,  which  I  have  before  mentioned  as  sur- 
mounting the  portico,  and  which  had  cost  ;^3500,  fell  from  its  pedestal 
some  days  after  the  actual  conflagration,  and  was  irretrievably  broken. 
But  perhaps  what  was  most  deplorable  was  the  loss  of  the  staircase  paint- 
ings, the  work  of  Laguerre,  which  it  was  not  humanly  possible  to  save. 
Curiously  enough,  however,  another  quasi  mural  painting  was  rescued  ; 
this  was  the  violin  which  John  Vander  Vaart  had  painted  against  one  of 
the  doors  of  the  house,  and  which,  says  Walpole,  deceived  every  one  who 
saw  it  into  supposing  it  an  actual  instrument  ;  a  curiosity  that  is  now 
preserved  at  Chatsworth. 

This  disastrous  fire  occurred  on  October  16,  1733,  and  in  the  Daily 
Journal  for  the  following  day,  a  long  and  graphic  account  of  the  circum- 
stance is  given.  Only  a  few  months  before  the  catastrophe,  the  Duke 
gave  a  ball  at  Devonshire  House,  which  is  mentioned  in  one  of  Lady 
Wentworth's  letters  to  her  son  ;  where,  after  naming  some  of  the  com- 
pany, she  details  as  follows,  the  sort  of  refreshment  provided  for  our 
forefathers  on  such  occasions  :  "  We  had  a  very  handsome  supper,  viz., 
'  Meaning  that  May,  its  architect,  had  taken  hints  from  the  greater  master. 


DEVONSHIRE   HOUSE  237 

at  the  upper  end  cold  chicken,  next  to  that  a  dish  of  cake,  parch'd 
almonds,  sapp  biskets,  next  to  that,  a  dish  of  tarts  and  cheesecakes,  next 
to  that  a  great  custard,  and  next  to  that  another  dish  of  biskets,  parch'd 
almonds,  and  preserved  apricocks,  and  next  a  quarter  of  lamb  "  !  There  is 
no  doubt  that  this  was  but  one  of  many  such  entertainments  which  the 
first  three  Dukes  of  Devonshire  gave  here ;  for  not  only  their  natural 
incHnation  towards  hospitality,  but  also  the  great  positions  they  respec- 
tively occupied,  would,  in  a  sense,  have  made  such  gatherings  necessary, 
as  well  as  pleasurable  to  them. 

On  the  destruction  of  his  residence  the  third  Duke  at  once  set  about 
the  erection  of  the  present  mansion.  He  selected  as  his  architect,  WilUam 
Kent,^  who  produced  a  building  which  is  not  very  likely  to  add  to  his 
reputation  ;  and  Ralph  is  bitterly  sarcastic,  as  is  his  playful  way,  over  its 
elevation.  "  It  is  spacious,  and  so  are  the  East  India  Company's  Ware- 
houses," says  he,  "  and  both  are  equally  deserving  praise."  The  critic 
also  falls  foul  of  the  wall  which  fronts  Piccadilly,  which  indeed  was  severe 
enough  before  the  happy  thought  of  placing  the  beautiful  gates  from 
Chiswick  House  added  both  interest  and  dignity  to  it. 

Kent  received  ;^iooo  for  his  plan  and  elevations  of  the  new  house, 
the  building  of  which  cost,  according  to  Pennant,  twenty  times  that  sum. 
The  topographer  once  went  over  the  mansion,  under  the  guidance  of 
Dr.  Lort,  the  then  librarian,  on  which  occasion  he  made  a  few  desultory 
notes  of  the  pictures  which  chiefly  attracted  his  notice,  confining  his 
attention,  however,  to  the  portraits,  which,  he  says,  "  are  so  numerous  that 
I  must  leave  the  complete  list  to  those  who  have  more  opportunity  of 
forming  it  than  I  had."  Among  those  he  does  mention  was  that, 
attributed  to  Tintoretto,  of  Marc  Antonio  de  Dominis,  Archbishop  of 
Spalatro,  the  ItaUan  theologian  and  natural  philosopher,  who  came  to 
this  country,  and  having  abjured  the  Roman  Catholic  reUgion,  became 
master  of  the  Savoy  and  Dean  of  Windsor,  when,  again  retracting,  he 
was  ordered  out  of  the  country,  and  died  miserably  in  prison  at  Rome, 
in  1624."  Titian's  portrait  of  himself;  Rembrandt's  Jewish  Rabbi; 
the  whole  length  in  armour  of  Philip  II.,  by  Titian ;  Sir  Thomas 
Browne  ^   with   his   wife    and   four    daughters,    by    Dobson,    which    last 

•  Kent  is  too  well  known  to  require  any  notice  here,  but  I  may  remind  the  reader  that  he 
designed  Holkham,  among  many  other  works,  the  plan  and  elevations  of  which  were  published 
by  Hrettingham  as  his  own,  much  to  Walpole's  disgust.  Kent  died  at  Burlington  House 
in  1748. 

^  This  picture  is  now  at  Chatsworth.  As  the  late  Mr.  Arthur  Strong  pointed  out,  it  could 
not  be  by  Tintoretto,  as  the  painter  died  in  1594,  and  Antonio  was  born  in  1566.  In  The 
Masterpieces  in  the  Duke  of  Devonshiri^s  Collection  it  is  attributed  to  an  unknown  painter  of 
the  North  Italian  School. 

'  This  still  hangs  in  the  Dining  Room  at  Devonshire  House. 


238     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

picture  reminds  our  author  of  a  quaint  passage  in  the  Religio  Medici; 
and  Vandyck's  presentment  (now  at  Chatsworth)  of  Arthur  Goodwin,  the 
friend  of  John  Hampden,  are  among  the  portraits  that  Pennant  notes, 
but  he  makes  no  attempt  to  describe  the  works  by  the  great  Italian 
masters,  which  then  formed,  according  to  his  own  showing,  "  by  far  the 
finest  private  collection  in  England." 

The  builder  and  internal  beautifier  of  Devonshire  House  died  in 
1755,  and  was  succeeded  by  his  son,  the  fourth  Duke,  who,  for  his  uncom- 
promising hostility  to  Lord  Bute,  was  called  by  that  statesman's  pro- 
tectress, the  Princess-Dowager  of  Wales,  "  King  of  the  Whigs."  He, 
indeed,  inaugurated  the  political  traditions  which,  during  his  successor's 
day,  made  Devonshire  House  the  great  centre  of  Whiggism.  The 
Duke,  who  had  married  Lady  Charlotte  Boyle,  daughter  and  heiress  of 
the  third  Earl  of  Burlington  (the  architect  Earl),  died  in  1764,  when 
his  son,  the  fifth  Duke,  reigned  in  his  stead.  The  pencil  of  Sir  Joshua  ^ 
and  the  pen  of  Wraxall  have  left  us  pictures  of  his  personality.  The 
latter  speaks  of  his  figure  as  being  "  tall  and  stately,"  and  remarks  that 
"  his  manners  were  always  calm  and  unruffled."  By  birth  and  tradition 
he  was  head  of  the  Whig  faction  ;  but  the  more  active  part  of  dissemi- 
nating Liberal  views  and  preaching  the  Liberal  propaganda,  was  played 
by  his  beautiful  first  Duchess  (for  he  was  twice  married),^  the  celebrated 
Georgiana,  daughter  of  John,  first  Earl  Spencer. 

There  has  been  far  too  much  written  about  this  beautiful  and  amiable 
woman  to  make  it  necessary  for  me  here  to  recapitulate  her  talents,  her 
loveliness,  or  her  fame.  She  reigned  as  a  queen,  not  only  by  virtue  of 
her  beauty,  but  because  of  her  gracious  manner,  her  quick  sympathy,  her 
splendid  enthusiasm.  At  a  time  when  it  was  supposed  to  become  great 
ladies  to  affect  boredom  and  ennui,  the  Duchess  devoured  London  with 
activity  in  support  of  her  friends  and  her  principles.  Fox  won  his 
celebrated  Westminster  election  by  her  strenuous  exertions.  We  aU 
know  the  story  of  the  kiss  by  which  she  wrung  a  vote  from  a  reluctant 
butcher. 

"  Condemn  not,  prudes,  fair  Devon's  plan 
In  giving  Steel  a  kiss, 
In  such  a  cause  for  such  a  man 
She  could  not  do  amiss," 

sang  one  whose  admiration  for  Fox  was  only  equalled  by  that  for  his 
beautiful  supporter.       When   Fox  was   returned,    it  was   at  Devonshire 

•  The  famous  Reynolds  portrait  of  the  Duchess  with  her  child  is  now  at  Chatsworth. 
^  The  second  time,  in  1809,  to  EHzabeth,  second  daughter  of  the  fourth  Earl  of  Bristol. 


DEVONSHIRE   HOUSE  239 

House,  where  the  Prince  of  Wales,  and  a  number  of  the  first  Whig 
famiUes  in  the  kingdom  were  assembled,  that  the  apotheosis  of  the  "  man 
of  the  people  "  took  place  ;  and  there  it  was  that  all  that  was  most 
brilliant,  in  intellect  or  fashion,  came  as  to  the  shrine  of  a  tutelary  goddess. 

Georgiana,  Duchess  of  Devonshire,  did  what  no  other  woman  could 
have  done  with  unsullied  reputation  in  those  days  when  Gillray  and 
Rowlandson  caricatured  features  and  misrepresented  actions  in  every 
sort  of  gross  and  indecent  caricature.  Her  power  over  women  was  so 
great  that  she  succeeded  in  abohshing  "  hoops  "  and  introducing  feathers  ; 
so  lasting  over  men,  that  the  fastidious  Walpole  records  how  "  her 
youth,  figure,  glowing  good-nature,  sense,  lively  and  modest  familiarity, 
make  her  a  phenomenon  "  ;  and,  when  she  died  untimely  at  the  height 
of  her  beauty  and  fame,  George,  Prince  of  Wales,  could  say,  "  We  have 
lost  the  best  bred  woman  in  England  "  ;  and  Charles  James  Fox  exclaim, 
"  We  have  lost  the  gentlest  heart  !  " 

The  "beautiful  Duchess"  died  on  March  30,  1806,  and  apart 
from  the  influence  she  wielded  alike  over  the  minds  and  hearts  of  her 
generation,  she  left  a  permanent  mark  of  her  individuahty  in  Devonshire 
House  itself,  where  a  small  room,  decorated  in  blue  and  silver,  was  de- 
signed by  her.  When  her  son,  the  sixth  Duke,  succeeded  his  father  in  181 1, 
he  practically  redecorated  the  whole  of  the  interior  of  the  house,  with 
the  exception  of  this  room  which  he  preserved  in  the  same  state  as  it 
had  been  during  his  mother's  lifetime. 

The  sixth  Duke  well  kept  up  the  traditions  of  his  illustrious  family 
and  the  great  house  with  which  its  name  is  so  closely  identified.  Of 
courteous  and  noble  manners,  particularly  handsome  and  attractive, 
and  standing  over  six  feet  in  height,  his  friendship  was  extended,  like 
that  of  Lord  Lansdowne,  to  those  whose  talents  alone  enabled  them  to 
figure  in  the  world  of  fashion,  of  which  he  was  one  of  the  leaders.  Lord 
Macaulay  says  that  he  never  saw  "  so  princely  an  air  and  manner,"  and  at 
George  the  Fourth's  coronation,  where  the  Duke  bore  the  orb,  the  same 
authority  states  that  "  he  looked  as  if  he  came  to  be  crowned  instead  of 
his  master."  Like  all  the  chiefs  of  his  family,  he  held  a  variety  of  great 
offices,  which  he  filled  with  dignity  and  success.  "  No  man  was  more 
looked  up  to  by  his  own  adherents  and  his  family,"  says  Henry  Greville, 
"  and  few  men  in  the  same  position  will  have  left  a  more  kindly  recollec- 
tion "  ;  and  Charles  Greville  remarks  that  "  he  was  very  clever  and  very 
comical,  with  a  keen  sense  of  humour,  frequently  very  droll  with  his 
intimate  friends,  and  his  letters  were  always  very  amusing." 

It  was  during  his  reign  that  Devonshire  House  was  the  scene  of  that 
notable  performance  of  Bulwer-Lytton's  comedy,   "  Not  so  bad  as  we 


240     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

seem,"  which  was  got  up  for  the  benefit  of  the  Guild  of  Literature  and 
Art,  on  May  i6,  1 851  ;  the  Queen  and  Prince  Albert  being  among  the 
distinguished  audience,  and  Charles  Dickens,  appearing  as  Lord  Wilmot, 
"  a  young  man  at  the  head  of  the  mode,"  a  part  that  apparently  did 
not  suit  him,  as  Home  remarks  that  he  appeared  "  more  like  the  captain 
of  a  Dutch  privateer  !  "  The  performance  took  place  in  the  great  Ball 
Room,  which  at  that  time  was  then  decorated  in  white  and  gold,  the 
walls  being  hung  in  blue  and  gold  brocade. 

The  works  of  art  that  now  hang  in  this  splendid  apartment  comprise — 
"  The  Adoration  of  the  Magi,"  by  Paul  Veronese,  a  superb  rendering 
of  a  subject  that  has  exercised  the  skill  of  nearly  all  the  great  masters. 
Waagen  very  properly  considers  this  work  as  one  of  the  painter's  most 
notable  achievements,  and  likens  its  clear  warm  tones  to  those  of  Titian 
himself,  and  there  is  no  doubt  but  that  this  high  praise  is  fully  justified. 
The  characteristic  attitude  of  the  chief  of  the  Magi  (obviously  a  portrait), 
who  kneels  before  the  infant  Christ,  is  no  less  noticeable  than  the  natural 
pose  of  Joseph,  who  leans  over  Mary's  shoulder,  and  seems  to  reveal  a 
curious  wonder  at  the  scene. 

Another  remarkable  work  here  is  Caravaggio's  "  Guitar  and  Flute 
Players,"  executed  with  a  breadth  and  certainty  of  draughtsmanship 
worthy  of  Velasquez  himself  ;  there  is  also  a  somewhat  similar  work, 
representing  a  group  of  musicians,  which  has  been  attributed  to  this 
master,  but  it  falls  far  short  of  the  "  Guitar  and  Flute  Players  "  in  beauty 
and  power,  and  should  probably  be  more  rightly  assigned  to  Mattia  Preti, 
called  II  Calabrese.  Close  by  hangs  a  small  but  most  exquisite  example 
of  Nicholas  Poussin,  his  "  Shepherds  in  Arcady,"  a  picture  very  similar 
to  that  in  the  Louvre,  but  if  anything  a  finer  specimen  of  his  art. 
The  subdued  tones,  browns  and  yellows,  which  form  the  colour  scheme 
of  this  work,  are  treated  in  the  most  effective  way  ;  but  it  is  unfortu- 
nate that  the  canvas  is  placed  so  high  up  on  the  wall  that  some  of  its 
beauties  are  apt  to  escape  any  but  those  whose  attention  is  specifically 
drawn  to  it. 

But  fine  as  are  the  canvases  I  have  mentioned,  there  are  two  in  this 
apartment  which  may  be  regarded  as  masterpieces  of  their  respective 
painters  ;  one  is  "  The  Holy  Family  with  St.  Elizabeth,"  by  Rubens,  which 
hangs  over  one  of  the  mantelpieces,  and  in  which,  although  much  of  the 
work  is  probably  that  of  pupils,  more  of  the  great  man's  own  touch  appears 
than  is  always  the  case  with  his  large  pictures  ;  and  the  other  the  con- 
summate Jordaens,  representing  Frederick,  Prince  of  Orange  and  his 
Princess,  but  long  supposed  to  be  portraits  of  Van  Zurpele,  Burgo- 
master of  Deist  and  Councillor  to  the  Prince  of  Orange,  and  his  wife. 


DEVONSHIRE   HOUSE  241 

The  former  picture  is  of  most  exquisite  quality — how,  being  the  work 
of  the  great  Flemish  artist,  could  it  well  be  otherwise ! — but  it  is  in  his 
middle  manner,  if  I  may  so  term  it,  after  he  had  thrown  off  the  restraint 
of  the  somewhat  hard  and  formal  methods  which  were  in  vogue  in  his 
youth,  and  by  which  many  of  his  earlier  conceptions  were  to  some  extent 
trammelled  ;  and  before  certainty  of  touch  and  sureness  of  treatment 
had  seduced  him  into  that  more  florid  style  which  has  blinded  many  to 
his  transcendent  merits.  The  Jordaens  is  probably  that  painter's  finest 
achievement  in  portraiture.  For  long  its  beauty  of  colouring,  its  sure- 
ness of  line,  and  that  something  which  is  as  difficult  to  describe  as  it  is 
to  communicate,  which  is  the  very  spirit  of  tightness,  caused  it  to  be 
ascribed  to  Rubens  himself  ;  certainly  the  master  could  not  have  done 
better  even  at  his  best  ;  and  here  the  great  pupil,  rising  to  the  heights 
which  the  master  dominated,  in  this  work  at  least  equalled  the  greater 
man  on  his  own  ground.  The  late  Mr.  Arthur  Strong  suggests  that  the 
picture  probably  came  into  the  possession  of  the  Devonshire  family  at 
the  time  of  the  negotiations  between  the  Whig  leaders  and  the  Prince 
of  Orange,  afterwards  Wilham  III.,  which  led  to  the  Revolution  of  1688. 
The  picture  is  of  great  size,  and  is  let  into  the  wall,  being  surrounded 
by  a  most  beautiful  and  elaborate  carved  and  gilt  frame — a  frame  that 
would  make  an  indifferent  work  appear  ridiculous,  and  which  is  massive 
enough  to  dwarf  any  but  a  most  consummate  work  of  art. 

After  these  two  masterpieces,  the  other  pictures  in  the  room,  fine  as 
many  of  them  are,  seem  almost  commonplace  ;  but  this  is  really  anything 
but  the  case,  and  Andrea  del  Sarto's  "  Holy  Family "  ;  "  Diana  and  her 
Nymphs,"  by  Carlo  Maratti,  and  Le  Sueur's  rather  decorative  than 
intrinsically  beautiful  "  Solomon  and  the  Queen  of  Sheba,"  are  all 
excellent  examples  of  these  painters.  One  other  work  deserves  a  word  ; 
it  is  the  portrait  of  a  young  man,  which  has  recently  been  ascribed  to 
Titian.  It  has  lately  been  cleaned,  and  its  luminous  tones  may  well  have 
been  produced  by  the  brush  of  the  great  Venetian  at  the  period  in  which 
he  produced  his  "  Man  with  the  Glove,"  in  the  Louvre.  If  it  be  not  by 
Titian,  then  it  is  the  production  of  one  who,  for  the  nonce,  painted  as 
well  as  the  master  could  have  done. 

Apart  from  the  pictorial  treasures  in  the  Ball  Room,  there  is  a  wealth 
of  beautiful  things,  porcelain  and  furniture,  in  this  splendid  apart- 
ment, which,  with  its  elaborate  gilding,  and  ceiling  decoration,  is  in  itself 
a  thing  to  wonder  at,  reminding  one  of  those  Venetian  palaces  in  which 
colour  is  enriched  by  gold,  and  gold  takes  on  a  hundred  shimmering 
tints  from  adjacent  colour. 

In  the  Red  Drawing  Room,  which  takes  its  name  from  the  tones  of 

Q 


242     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

the  brocaded-silk  wall-hangings,  another  artistic  banquet  awaits  us  ; 
but  I  can  only  mention  one  or  two  of  the  more  important  pictures.  One 
of  these  is  the  portrait,  three-quarter-length,  of  a  young  girl,  which  has 
been  for  long  attributed  to  Velasquez,  but  which,  on  the  great  authority 
of  Signer  Baruete,  is  now  assigned  to  Mazo,  his  son-in-law  and  pupil.  The 
subject  of  the  picture  would  seem  to  be  Maze's  wife,  and  in  the  Wallace 
Collection  she  is  to  be  found  again,  painted  by  her  father.  The  Devon- 
shire House  example  is  a  remarkable  tour  de  force,  especially  for  a  painter 
whose  productions,  though  uniformly  good,  can  never  be  said  to  have 
reached  the  greatest  height  of  artistic  endeavour  ;  its  treatment  is  besides 
so  similar  to  Velasquez's  manner  that  it  seems  to  me  not  improbable 
that  Mazo  may  have  copied  it,  or  at  least  integral  portions  of  it,  from 
some  of  his  father-in-law's  work,  especially  as  we  know  that  Mazo's  skill 
in  this  direction  was  so  great  that  Philip  IV.  ordered  him  to  make  copies 
of  all  the  finest  Venetian  paintings  in  the  Royal  collection,  and  that  he 
performed  the  task  in  so  masterly  a  manner  that  it  was  impossible  to 
tell  his  work  from  the  originals. 

Another  noticeable  picture  in  this  room  is  the  portrait  of  his  daughter, 
by  Cornelius  de  Vos.  It  represents  the  little  girl  standing  facing  the 
spectator,  in  the  unaffected  attitude  of  childhood,  and  holding  up  her 
apron  from  which  peep  out  some  gathered  flowers  ;  the  lower  part  of 
the  figure  may  be  considered  somewhat  hard  and  formal  ;  there  is,  too, 
something  to  seek  in  the  drawing  of  the  little  podgy  hands ;  but  the  head, 
with  its  hair  ruffled  by  the  wind,  and  the  speaking  eyes  which  look  out 
with  curious  intentness,  are  a  splendid  proof  of  what  heights  even  a  lesser 
painter  can  reach  when  the  subject  is  one  after  his  own  heart. ^ 

In  the  Red  Drawing  Room,  too,  hangs  a  picture  of  a  man  and  his 
wife,  of  which  the  painter  is  unknown  ;  but  it  is  so  excellent  as  to  make 
one  wonder  at  the  fact  that  neither  the  artist's  name  nor  the  frovinance 
of  the  work  has  been  preserved.  From  the  maps  and  globe  introduced 
into  the  canvas,  as  well  as  the  hard,  weather-beaten  face  of  the  man,  it  is 
evident  that  he  is  a  navigator  ;  and  the  gentle,  somewhat  anxious  features 
of  the  wife  (in  which  lies  the  chief  beauty  of  the  work)  seem  to  tell  of 
long  periods  of  solitary  anxiety  and  suspense,  now  for  a  time  cleared  away, 
as  her  husband  sits  safely  beside  her,  and  tells  her  of  the  "  dangers  he  had 
pass'd." 

In  this  room  there  is  also  a  portrait  of  Pope  Innocent  X.,  attributed  to 
Velasquez,  but  more  likely  traceable  to  one  of  his  followers  ;    it  has  a 

'  This  picture  which  was  formerly  at  Chiswick,  seems  to  have  once  been  attributed  to 
Velasquez,  but  Lord  Ronald  Gower,  in  his  Historic  Galleries  of  England  (1883),  on  the 
authority  of  Dr.  Richter,  assigns  it  to  Alonso  Sanchez-Coello. 


ONDON 

9  JTOts  us; 
pctos.  One 


pati 

The 
ntieWalkce 
'IlieDe\'oii- 
r  for  1  painter 
■  aid  to  kve 
Mt  ii  besides 
t  iaprcbble 
B  oi  it,  Irom 
it^WssliiU 
to  Q]^  copies 
■.udtkik 
I  imoeible  to 


liig  kiiig  the 
U^  up  k 

K  Intt  pait  oi 

■   ■;,  too, 

■.:;iead, 

...  ';oii  out 

.j;  treii  i  kiser 

at' 

I  Bin  ind  his 

ottk) 

^i 
fciie  myitis 
itcffi^teatuies 
^i«mtoteiof 


•«r 


ijiedto 
has  a 


5^(183),  ««*« 


".<*?"-.>.  '-tj-.v 


4 


I 


DEVONSHIRE   HOUSE  243 

resemblance  to  the  famous  portrait  of  the  ill-favoured  pontiff  at  Apsley 
House,  and  also  to  that  which  hangs  in  the  Palazzo  Doria,  but  is  much 
rougher  in  treatment,  and  less  sure  in  draughtsmanship  than  either  of 
these  masterpieces.  The  full-length  portrait  of  another  Pope,  by  Carlo 
Maratti,  hangs  close  by,  and  is  a  fine  and  soft  piece  of  work  curiously 
dissimilar  in  manner  to  the  Innocent  X. 

But  the  gems  of  the  Red  Drawing  Room  are  the  two  Rembrandts  ; 
both  portraits  of  old  men,  one  of  whom  is  shown  in  full  face,  and  dressed 
in  the  fur-lined  cloak  which  indicated  municipal  rank  ;  the  other,  and 
much  finer  work,  representing  an  old  man  resting  his  head  on  his  hand, 
and  dressed  in  a  furred  robe.  The  glorious  golden  tones  with  which 
Rembrandt  so  often  suffused  his  pictures  is  present  in  a  remarkable  degree 
in  this  wonderful  canvas.  In  the  absence  of  any  accurate  information  as 
to  the  identity  of  the  subject,  it  seems  probable  that  it  was  painted  from 
the  model  who  is  portrayed  by  Rembrandt  as  "  The  Mathematician," 
now  in  the  Cassel  Museum,  a  work  executed  about  the  year  1656. 

In  an  ante-room  leading  from  the  Red  Drawing  Room,  hangs  a  Van 
Goyen  of  unusual  power,  and  depth  of  impasto  ;  a  Weenix,  showing  some 
cattle  among  ruins  ;  and  two  of  Sebastian  Ricci's  decorative  works  ; 
while  "  A  Bacchante,"  by  Antoine  Coypel,  is  noteworthy  as  being  no 
less  rich  in  colouring  than  beautiful  in  drawing,  although,  as  was  usual 
with  this  painter,  the  chief  figure  is  portrayed  with  a  theatricality  which 
gives  a  certain  factitious  appearance  to  the  whole  composition. 

The  Dining  Room  at  Devonshire  House  contains  a  number  of  interest- 
ing works,  among  them  being  that  of  Sir  Thomas  Browne's  family,  which 
has  been  before  referred  to  as  having  been  seen  by  Pennant,  and  then  attri- 
buted to  Dobson.  I  cannot  but  think,  however,  that  it  is  more  likely 
the  work  of  Van  Somer,  the  heads  of  the  two  little  girls  in  the  centre 
of  the  picture  being  much  more  in  the  style  of  the  Flemish  than  of  the 
English  painter.  There  has,  too,  been  a  question  as  to  whether  the  man 
in  the  group  represents  Sir  Thomas  or  his  father  ;  if  the  latter  be  correct, 
then  the  future  author  of  the  Religio  Medici  is  the  child  on  the  mother's 
knee,  and  as  he  is  known  to  have  had  three  sisters  (the  number  of  the 
little  girls  in  the  picture),  this  supposition  would  seem  to  be  based  on 
tenable  grounds.^  By  Lely  is  the  portrait  of  an  architect  which  hangs 
close  by.  There  seems  some  doubt  as  to  whom  this  picture  actually 
represents,  and  I  make  the  suggestion  for  what  it  be  worth  that  it  is  a 
portrait  of  Caius  Gabriel  Gibber.       It   is  a   particularly  fine  work,  and 

1  If  the  picture  is  by  Van  Somer,  then  the  child  would  be  the  future  Sir  Thomas  Browne  ; 
as  he  was  born  in  1605,  and  the  painter  died  in  162 1,  whereas  Dobson  was  not  bom 
till  1610. 


244    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Lely  did  not  often  reach  the  heights  to  which  it  attains.  There  are  here, 
also,  several  Vandycks,  notably  the  Countess  of  Carlisle  ^  and  her  young 
daughter,  the  presentment  of  the  child  being  a  perfect  piece  of  painting  ; 
and  two  members  of  the  Cavendish  family  of  that  period,  or  at  least  so 
they  are  said  to  be,  although  one  of  them  has  a  marked  resemblance  to 
the  unfortunate  Lord  Falkland  ;  an  indifferent  head  of  Lord  Strafford 
hangs  over  one  of  the  doors,  and  above  the  mantelpiece  is  a  good  copy 
of  Vandyck's  full-length  portrait  of  Clara  Eugenia,  daughter  of  PhiUp  IV. 
of  Spain,  and  widow  of  the  Archduke  Albert.  With  these  is  Sir  Joshua's 
splendid  rendering  of  Lord  Richard  Cavendish,  who  was  sitting  to  the 
painter  on  June  3,  1780,  when  the  Gordon  rioters  first  startled  the 
town.^  Walpole  calls  this  picture  "  one  of  the  best,  if  not  the  best," 
that  Reynolds  ever  painted  ;  high  praise,  which,  however,  is  justified 
by  its  beauty  and  delicacy. 

But,  notwithstanding  this,  the  gem  of  the  room  is  the  superlatively 
great  portrait  of  a  man  by  Franz  Hals,  which  hangs  in  a  corner  by  one 
of  the  doors.  Although  not  possessing  that  brio  which  is  so  characteristic 
of  this  great  master,  this  dignified  and  beautifully  conceived  work  is 
not  the  less,  perhaps  something  more,  attractive.  Whomever  it  represents, 
the  actual  man  seems  to  be  gazing  calmly  from  the  canvas,  not  unpleased, 
we  may  suppose,  at  the  notice  which  his  elaborately  embroidered  sleeve 
(a  marvel  of  skilful  technique)  evokes.  What  seems  to  be  the  companion 
picture,  a  portrait  of  a  woman,  hangs  in  the  Duchess's  Boudoir,  and 
it  is  a  hardly  less  satisfying  work,  although  the  height  at  which  it  is 
hung  detracts  seriously  from  the  possibility  of  a  proper  consideration 
of  its  merits.  It  is  to  be  hoped  that  in  any  re-arrangement  of  the 
pictures  that  may  be  made,  these  two  works  will  be  hung  together  in  the 
good  light  that  they  deserve. 

Among  the  other  pictures  in  the  Boudoir  where  the  Hals  hangs,  the 
chief  are  of  the  Dutch  school ;  thus  there  are  examples  of  Berghem,  an 
unusually  full  and  beautiful  canvas,  and  Both,  with  that  ever  warm  glow 
over  the  landscape  which  he  borrowed  from  Italy  ;  a  pair  of  particularly 
fine  Canalettis  ;  characteristic  scenes  in  Venice  ;  and  the  interior  of  a 
church  by  Steenwyck,  showing  that  remarkable  architectural  skill  in  draw- 
ing, and  clever  management  of  shadows  in  which  his  chief  rivals  are  the 
Peter  Neefs  of  his  own  day  and  the  Bosboom  of  ours.  There  are  besides, 
among  others,  a  Wouvermanns,  with  his  inevitable  white  horse  ;    and 

'  She  was  Lady  Margaret  Russell,  third  daughter  of  Francis,  Earl  of  Bedford. 

^  In  Sir  Joshua's  List  of  Si/Zers  for  this  year,  Lord  Richard  has  against  his  name  the 
words,  "  on  a  visit  to  Lord  Darnley  at  Cobham  "  ;  so  it  is  probable  that  some  sittings  were 
given  there,  when  the  painter  was  a  fellow  guest,  a  not  infrequent  practice  with  Reynolds. 


DEVONSHIRE   HOUSE  245 

ships  in  a  calm,  which  is  labelled  Van  de  Velde,  but  is  more  probably  one 
of  Abraham  Storck's  masterly  seascapes. 

The  Green  Drawing  Room  is  notable  as  possessing  two  of  the  finest 
Salvator  Rosas  in  existence  ;  one,  a  beautiful  landscape,  with  remarkable 
cloud  eflFects  that  might  even  have  reconciled  Ruskin  to  the  work  of  this 
painter,  and  free  from  those  exaggerated  shadows  that  so  often  detract 
from  the  beauty  of  his  work  ;  the  other,  the  famous  "  Jacob's  Ladder,"  than 
which,  it  is  probable,  he  never  produced,  nor  could  produce,  anything 
finer.  There  is  also  a  very  fine  "  Samson  and  Delilah,"  by  Tintoretto, 
in  which  the  painter  approaches  as  nearly  to  Titian  in  warmth  of 
colouring  as  it  was  possible  perhaps  for  him  ever  to  do.  As  Mr.  Strong, 
in  his  prefatory  note  to  The  Masterpieces  in  the  Duke  of  Devonshire'' s 
Collection,  remarks,  "  While  others  seem  to  be  content  to  recite  the  pre- 
liminaries or  the  sequel  of  an  occurrence,  Tintoretto  seizes  the  critical 
point.  Moreover,  he  is  apt,  as  in  this  case,  to  lower  the  centre  of  gravity 
until  all  the  figures  are  drawn  into  a  downward  curve." 

For  the  rest,  there  are  a  pair  of  portraits  by  Rubens  in  his  earliest 
manner,  with  little  promise  of  the  daring  brush-sweep  that  was  to  char- 
acterise his  later  touch;  and  examples  of  Ruysdael,  Wouvermanns,  and 
Berghem,  as  well  as  an  interesting  work  by  Pietro  da  Cortona. 

Such  rooms  as  the  late  Duke's  Sitting  Room,  lined  with  bookcases,  and 
still  bearing  evidences  of  the  activity  and  innumerable  interests  that  have, 
alas  !  so  recently  been  cut  short  ;  as  well  as  the  late  Duke's  Bed  Room, 
are  too  much  in  the  nature  of  private  apartments  to  allow  of  any  detailed 
treatment  ;  but  I  may  note,  in  the  former,  the  beautiful  miniature 
full-length  portrait  of  the  Dowager  Duchess,  as  Duchess  of  Manchester, 
which  stands  on  one  of  the  tables  ;  and  the  wonderful  Empire  furni- 
ture in  the  latter,  as  well  as  the  fine  landscape,  suffused  with  the  Hght 
of  the  dying  sun,  by  Annibale  Caracci,  and  the  very  curious  present- 
ment of  Gabrielle  d'Estrees,  her  sister,  and  child  with  its  nurse,  which 
as  a  piece  of  historical  portraiture  has  a  value  that  it  can  hardly  claim  as 
a  work  of  art. 

But  of  all  the  splendid  rooms  in  Devonshire  House,  not  even  excepting 
the  Great  Ball  Room,  the  Saloon  is  in  point  of  elaborate  decoration  the 
most  remarkable.  We  seem  here  to  be  entering  one  of  those  gorgeous 
apartments  which  the  wealth  and  luxury  of  Venice,  at  its  great  period, 
could  alone  conceive,  and  the  pencil  of  Veronese  was  alone  able  to  per- 
petuate. But,  notwithstanding  the  massive  nature  of  the  gilding  and 
carving,  the  colossal  mirrors  framed  on  Brobdingnagian  principles,  the 
domed  ceiling  rich  with  painted  wreaths  and  festoons  of  flowers  and  a 
thousand  arabesques,  in  the  midst  of  which  the  ducal  coronet  and  crest 


2  4-6     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

is  displayed,  and  the  "  Cavendo  Tutus"  the  Cavendish  family  motto, 
seems  to  take  on  itself  another  significance  by  reason  of  the  magnificence 
which  has  resulted  from  the  systematic  following  of  its  advice,  the  room 
has  no  appearance  of  heaviness,  no  trace  of  being  over-loaded  by  decorative 
artifices  ;  and  this  is  undoubtedly  due  to  the  fact  that  its  proportions 
are  so  perfect,  as  well  they  may  be,  when  we  know  that  Kent  designed 
it,  and  Lord  Burlington  gave  his  consummate  advice  on  its  arrangement 
and  embellishment  ;  indeed,  it  is  possible  that  the  Saloon  is  the  most 
complete  and  characteristic  specimen  extant  of  Kent's  talent  and  his 
chief  patron's  refined  taste.  A  few  portraits  hang  here  as  sofra  portas, 
notably  the  well-known  three-quarter-length  of  the  first  Duke  of  Devon- 
shire by  Sir  Godfrey  Kneller  ;  Lord  and  Lady  Burlington  by  the  same 
painter  ;  Dr.  Tillotson,  and  a  portrait  of,  I  suggest  in  the  absence  of 
authoritative  information,  the  second  Duke  of  Ormonde. 

Beyond  those  I  have  specifically  mentioned  there  are  numbers  of 
fine  pictures  scattered  through  this  great  palace,  to  which  nothing  short 
of  a  complete  catalogue  could  do  justice  ;  but,  in  spite  of  the  number 
of  canvases  that  hang  on  the  walls,  the  Devonshire  collection  as  a  whole 
must  be  studied  not  only  here  but  at  Chatsworth,  and  in  half-a-dozen 
other  princely  residences  belonging  to  the  head  of  the  Cavendish  family. 
Thus  at  Chatsworth  is  now  to  be  seen — for  it  was  some  time  ago  removed 
from  Devonshire  House — the  original  Liber  Veritatis  of  Claude  de 
Lorraine  ;  about  which,  although  it  be  rather  outside  my  subject,  I  must 
say  a  word. 

This  remarkable  collection  of  drawings  owed  its  origin  to  the  fact 
that  even  during  Claude's  lifetime  his  works  were  so  highly  esteemed 
and  sought  after,  that  it  paid  many  artists  to  copy  his  pictures,  and  to 
pass  off  spurious  paintings  as  genuine  examples  of  his  brush.  In  order, 
therefore,  to  leave  an  absolute  test  of  the  genuineness  of  his  own  work, 
Claude  made  these  sketches,  so  that  copies  might  at  once  be  known  by 
their  not  being  included  among  these  drawings.  On  the  back  of  each 
is  his  monogram,  the  place  where  the  original  was  painted,  and  generally 
the  name  of  the  patron  for  whom  it  was  executed,  while  he  not  infrequently 
gives  the  date  of  the  year  in  which  it  was  completed,  and  never  fails  to 
set  his  "  Claudio  fecit  "  upon  the  work.  On  the  back  of  the  first  drawing 
appear  these  words  in  a  curious  melange  of  Italian  and  bad  French, 
written  by  the  painter  himself  :  "  Andi  lo  dagosto  1677.  Ce  livre 
Anpartien  a  moy  que  je  faict  durant  ma  vie  Claudio  Gill6,  dit  le 
Loraine.  A  Roma  ce  23  Aos  1680."  We  may  smile  at  the  indifferent 
linguistic  skill  displayed,  but  the  value  of  this  record  is  beyond  com- 
putation.    The  fate  of  this  invaluable  volume  is  a   sad  commentary  on 


DEVONSHIRE   HOUSE  247 

the  value  of  testamentary  wishes.  Claude  left  in  his  will,  directions  that 
the  book  should  remain  for  ever  as  an  heirloom  in  his  family,  and  his  first 
descendants  so  carefully  regarded  his  desire  that  although  Cardinal 
d'Estr^es,  the  French  Ambassador  at  Rome,  did  everything  he  could  to 
get  possession  of  it,  he  signally  failed.  Later,  however,  the  book  passed 
to  heirs  who  cared  so  little  either  for  Claude's  wishes  or  fame,  that  they 
sold  the  work  to  a  French  jeweller  for  200  scudi — a  mere  nothing  ! 
The  Frenchman,  in  turn,  disposed  of  it  to  a  Dutch  dealer,  from  whom 
it  passed  into  the  collection  of  the  Duke  of  Devonshire. 

Besides  this  rarity  there  used  to  be  preserved  at  Devonshire  House 
volumes  of  engravings  by  Marc  Antonio  and  other  great  masters  of 
the  engraver's  art  ;  and  among  the  books,  the  Kemble  collection  of  early 
English  plays,  for  which  the  sixth  Duke  gave  what  now  seems  an  absurdly 
low  price — ;^iooo — which  was  originally  housed  here,  is  now  also  at 
Chatsworth. 

Apart  from  these  rarities,  the  contents  of  Devonshire  House — the 
wonderful  Italian  cabinets,  the  porcelain,  the  Sevres  and  Chelsea,  &c., 
and  the  beautiful  French  furniture,  of  practically  all  the  great  periods, 
from  that  of  Louis  Quatorze  to  that  of  the  first  Empire — represent 
not  only  immense  wealth,  but  much  that  is  best  in  the  artistic  develop- 
ment of  many  centuries  and  divers  countries. 

On  the  garden  front  of  the  house  is  the  great  semicircular  addition 
designed  by  Wyatt,  which  contains  the  famous  circular  staircase,  with 
its  gilded  iron-work,  and  its  handrail  of  glass  sometimes  mistaken  for 
crystal,  and  up  which  so  many  notable  people  have  passed  on  those  occa- 
sions when  semi-royal  functions  have  taken  place  beneath  this  hospitable 
and  splendid  roof. 

The  grounds  at  the  back  of  Devonshire  House  are  an  excellent  specimen 
of  what  artistic  landscape  gardening  can  effect,  even  in  London,  where  there 
is,  as  here,  sufficient  material  to  work  on.  They  have,  too,  the  advantage 
of  being  bounded  on  the  north  by  those  of  Lansdowne  House,  which 
help  to  carry  on  the  continuity  of  verdure  which  in  summer  spreads 
itself  before  the  windows  of  the  mansion.  The  division  of  the  two 
properties  is  formed  by  Lansdowne  Passage,  running  from  Berkeley  Street 
to  Curzon  Street,  at  either  end  of  which  short  cut,  which,  by-the-bye,  is 
much  below  the  street  level  and  is  entered  by  steps,  are  the  iron  bars 
set  up  at  the  end  of  the  eighteenth  century,  in  consequence  of  a  high- 
wayman having  ridden  his  horse  along  it  and  up  these  steps,  and  thus 
escaping  his  pursuers. 

For  many  years  the  Piccadilly  front  of  Devonshire  House  was  as  much 
hidden  by  a  blank  wall  as  was  old   Harcourt  House  ;    but  in  1897  the 


248     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

beautiful  gates  which  now  so  greatly  improve  it,  and  are  such  a  feature 
at  this  point  of  the  thoroughfare,  were  brought  here  from  the  ducal 
suburban  residence — villa  was  the  former  inadequate  style  of  such  places, 
beloved  of  early  topographers — at  Chiswick.  Not  always  did  they  bear 
the  arms  of  the  Cavendish  family,  with  its  punning  motto,  for  they 
originally  contained  the  crest  of  the  Percevals,  and  adorned  the  residence 
of  the  second  Lord  Egmont  at  Turnham  Green,  which  property  after- 
wards passed  into  the  possession  of  Lord  Heathfield,  the  well-known 
soldier,  and  Governor  of  Gibraltar.  On  his  death  the  house  gradually 
fell  into  neglect,  and  was  finally  demolished  in  1838,  when  the  gates 
were  purchased  by  the  sixth  Duke  of  Devonshire,  and  set  up  at  the 
entrance  to  Chiswick  House,  where  they  remained  until  their  removal 
to  their  present  position. 


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250     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

streams  which  met  where  the  Marble  Arch  now  stands,  gradually  gave 
place  to  the  more  euphonious  and  appropriate  Park  Lane  ;  but  "  Lane  " 
it  has  always  been,  and  probably  will  always  be,  in  spite  of  the  inappro- 
priateness  of  such  a  designation  for  the  most  fashionable  residential  street 
in  London.  To-day  as  we  walk  along  it  we  can  see  for  ourselves  what 
a  substantial  claim  it  has  to  be  considered  in  this  light.  Even  its  small 
houses,  and  many  are  mere  wedges  as  it  were  slipped  in  between  more 
commodious  residences,  have  an  air  of  being  prosperous  and  self-satisfied ; 
its  large  mansions,  Londonderry  House,  Grosvenor  House,  Brook  House, 
and  Dudley  House,  or  the  more  modern  erections  for  which  South  African 
finance  has  been  responsible,  such  as  the  late  Mr.  Barnato's  house,  now 
the  residence  of  Sir  Edward  Sassoon,  and  the  late  Mr.  Alfred  Beit's 
reproduction  of  an  old  English  country  mansion,  are  a  sight  to  see,  as 
well  as  an  objective  for  vituperation  on  the  part  of  stump-orators  in 
the  adjacent  Park  who  settle  the  affairs  of  the  nation  with  apparently 
complete  satisfaction  to  themselves.  But  of  all  the  great  houses  in  Park 
Lane,  none  equal — none,  indeed,  approach,  in  splendour — Dorchester 
House,  which  may,  I  think,  without  hyperbole,  be  considered  the 
finest  private  dwelling  in  London,  as  well  as  London's  most  graceful  and 
beautiful  attempt  at  modern  domestic  architecture. 

It  stands  in  magnificent  isolation,  so  far,  indeed,  as  any  building  in  a 
crowded  and  fashionable  part  of  our  great  city  can  do  so  ;  it  seems 
to  have  shouldered  out  of  existence  streets  and  smaller  tenements  ;  it 
sets  a  proud  foot  on  the  very  thoroughfare  itself  ;  sure  of  its  power  to 
impress,  it  appears  to  court  observation  and  to  challenge  critical  scrutiny  ; 
and  yet  if  it  can  be  supposed  capable  of  wonder,  it  cannot  but  wonder 
at  finding  itself — an  Italian  palace — placed  under  an  alien  sky,  and  to 
see,  not  the  Tiber  or  the  Arno,  but  the  mud  of  London  flowing  at  its 
feet.     It  is  almost  sad  to  see  this  exotic  from  a  fairer  clime  ; 

"  Where  the  baked  cicala  dies  of  drouth," 

taking  on,  year  by  year,  a  deeper  tone  of  melancholy  from  the  manifold 
accretions  of  the  great  city,  and  vainly  hoping,  as  it  were,  to  once 
more  return  to  "  the  land  of  lands,"  whose  spirit  is  perpetuated  in  its 
flowing  lines. 

Dorchester  House,  of  which  Augustus  Hare  very  properly  says  that 
it  is  "  an  imitation,  not  (like  most  English  buildings)  a  caricature  of 
the  best  Italian  models,"  was  built  for  Mr.  R.  S.  Holford,  after  the  designs 
of  Vulliamy,  during  the  years  1851-53,  and  was  erected  on  the  site  of 
an  older  house,  bearing  the  same  name,  which  had  belonged  to  the  Earls 


DORCHESTER   HOUSE  251 

of  Dorchester.^  The  history  of  the  old  mansion  during  the  Dorchester 
regime  is  wrapt  in  obscurity  ;  but  later  it  was  occupied  by  the  notorious 
third  Marquis  of  Hertford,  who  married  Maria  Fagniani,  the  adopted 
daughter  of  George  Selwyn,  and  who  died  here  in  1842,  some  years  after 
which  event  Air.  Holford  purchased  the  property,  pulled  down  the  old 
mansion,  and  built  the  present  stately  pleasure  house  on  its  site. 

The  massive  building  forms  a  parallelogram,  being  over  100  feet  in 
width  by  135  feet  in  depth,  and  indicates,  in  its  effective  facade  facing 
the  Park,  the  elaborate  carvings  in  the  cornice,  and  the  large  amount 
of  detail  discernible  in  its  exterior,  the  care  and  judgment  bestowed 
upon  it  by  the  architect,  as  well  as  the  lavish  expenditure  of  Mr.  Holford. 
In  an  article  in  The  Builder,  devoted  to  the  consideration  of  Dorchester 
House  occurs  the  following  passage,  which,  as  giving  some  interesting 
technical  details  of  the  fabric,  I  here  quote  :  "  This  mansion  is  a  very  good 
specimen  of  masonry,  and  is  built  for  long  endurance.  The  external  walls 
are  3  feet  10  inches  thick,  with  a  cavity  of  about  5  inches,  and  the  pro- 
portion of  stone  is  great,  and  the  bonders  numerous  ;  the  stones  are  all 
dowelled  together  with  slate  dowells  ;  and  throughout,  the  greatest  care 
appears  to  have  been  taken  by  the  architect  to  ensure  more  than  usually 
sound  construction.  If  the  New  Zealander,  who  is  to  gaze  on  the  deserted 
site  of  fallen  London  in  some  distant  time  to  come,  sees  nothing  else  stand- 
ing in  this  neighbourhood,  he  will  certainly  find  the  weather-tinted  walls 
of  Dorchester  House  erect  and  faithful,  and  will,  perhaps,  strive  to  discover 
the  meaning  on  the  shield  beneath  the  balconies,  '  R.S.H.,'  that  he  may 
communicate  his  speculations  to  some  Tasmanian  Society  of  Antiquaries." 

In  front  of  Dorchester  House  is  a  triangular  fore-court,  enclosed  by 
a  massive  stone  wall  which  surrounds  the  house,  and  has  a  lodge  at  the 
entrance  where  Deanery  Street  runs  into  Park  Lane. 

It  is  obvious  that  a  house  whose  solidity  of  construction  and  external 
details  have  been  so  carefully  thought  out,  should  show  in  its  interior  a 
commensurate  completeness  as  well  as  a  wealth  of  homogeneous  details. 
When  Dr.  Waagen  visited  this  country  and  inspected  its  great  galleries 
of  art,  Mr.  Holford  was  erecting  this  palace,  largely  for  the  reception  of 
the  magnificent  collection  of  pictures  which  he  had  then  already  brought 
together,  and  which  was  at  that  time  temporarily  lodged  in  Sir  Thomas 
Lawrence's  old  residence  in  Russell  Square,  where  the  great  art  critic  saw 
it  ;  now,   however,   these   gems    of  art   repose   on    the    walls   that    were 

'  Joseph  Darner,  bom  1718,  created  Earl  of  Dorchester  1792,  married  Lady  Caroline 
Sackville,  daughter  of  first  Duke  of  Dorset,  and  was  succeeded  in  179S,  by  his  son  George 
Darner,  Earl  of  Dorchester,  born  1746,  died  iSocS.  Dorchester  House  in  Lord  Milton's  (after- 
wards Earl  of  Dorchester)  time,  owing  to  its  exclusiveness,  was  called  "Milton's  Paradise 
Lost." 


252     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

built  largely  for  their  reception,  and  the  glowing  tints  of  Titian  and  the 
flowing  draperies  of  Veronese  take  on  an  added  beauty  from  the  fact 
that  their  surroundings  are  so  strictly  in  keeping  with  them,  that  they 
might  still  be  hanging  in  one  of  those  Venetian  palaces  from  whence 
they  came. 

But  numerous  as  are  the  pictures  in  Dorchester  House,  the  immense 
size  of  the  various  state  rooms  and  their  number,  have  the  happy 
effect  of  enabling  each  picture  to  hang  at  a  reasonable  distance  from  its 
neighbour,  and  thus  is  avoided  that  overcrowding  which  so  greatly 
detracts  from  the  pleasure  of  inspecting  such  works  of  art  in  many  great 
houses  whose  picture-galleries  are  filled  to  overflowing. 

The  great  staircase  at  Dorchester  House,  over  which  the  late  George 
Richmond  was  so  enthusiastic,  is  indeed  a  thing  to  wonder  at,  there  being 
nothing  comparable  to  it  in  London,  with  the  exception,  perhaps,  of  that  in 
Stafford  House  ;  it  occupies  the  centre  of  the  house,  and  is  lighted  from 
above,  and  from  the  gallery  round  it  open  that  remarkable  range  of  apart- 
ments— the  Saloon,  the  Green  Drawing  Room,  the  Red  Drawing  Room, 
and  the  State  Drawing  Room — in  which  the  ceilings  and  other  decorations 
are  from  the  hands  of  Italian  artists,  and  the  beautiful  chimney-pieces  are 
by  Alfred  Stevens,  and  probably  represent  the  finest  work  that  great 
artist  ever  achieved.  In  these  rooms  hang  some  of  the  notable  pictures 
of  the  great  masters,  Titian  and  Tintoretto,  Velasquez  and  Vandyck  and 
Murillo,  Rembrandt  and  Claude  and  Cuyp  and  Ruysdael. 

In  the  Saloon,  which  it  will  be  convenient  to  examine  first,  hangs 
over  the  fireplace,  and  let  into  the  magnificently  carved  marble  over- 
mantel, Vandyck's  portrait  of  the  Marchesa  Balbi,  one  of  the  painter's 
greatest  achievements,  and  owing  much  of  that  glorious  golden  tone 
which  suffuses  it,  to  his  study  of  the  Venetian  masters  during  his 
sojourn  at  Genoa.  Only  less  luminous  are  Dosso  Dossi's  full-length  of 
Alfonso,  Duke  of  Ferrara,  and  the  Philip  IV.  by  Velasquez,  a  later  portrait 
of  that  monarch  than  the  fine  one  we  shall  presently  come  to  in  the  Red 
Drawing  Room.  In  the  Saloon  also  hang  a  pair  of  portraits  by  Angelo 
Allori,  commonly  called  Bronzino,  representing  Cosmo  I.,  Duke  of  Tuscany, 
and  his  wife  Eleanor,  daughter  of  Don  Pedro  of  Toledo,  which,  it  is  pro- 
bable, the  painter  never  surpassed  ;  while  the  great  Titian  is  responsible 
for  the  head  of,  it  is  supposed,  one  of  the  Dukes  of  Milan  of  the  Sforza 
family,  as  well  as  for  the  portrait  of  a  Venetian  lady.  By  Domenichino, 
there  is  a  St.  Lawrence  in  this  room,  and  a  portrait  of  Murillo  by  himself, 
and  Rembrandt  gives  us  a  head  of  a  man,  that  of  a  well-known  merchant 
of  Amsterdam,  Marten  Looten,  dated  1623,  which  came  from  Cardinal 
Fesch's   collection,    and   which   Waagen   praises   highly  for   its   "  natural 


DORCHESTER    HOUSE  253 

colouring  and  delicacy  of  feeling  "  ;  and  close  by  is  Annibale  Caracci's 
"  Susanna  and  the  Elders,"  which  can  hardly  be  said  to  show  up  well  beside 
the  masterpieces  here  ;  while  two  beautiful  landscapes  must  not  escape 
our  attention  ;  one  by  Caspar  Poussin,  by  whom  there  are  at  least 
three  others  in  the  collection,  and  the  other  by  Richard  Wilson,  the 
first  of  the  great  English  landscape  painters,  whose  hard  classicism  could 
not  detract  from  his  natural  genius. 

The  pictures,  of  which  there  are  over  twenty,  in  the  Green  Drawing 
Room  are  no  less  notable,  and  exhibit,  if  possible,  a  still  greater  catholi- 
city of  taste  than  those  in  the  Saloon.  Here  is  an  "  Adoration "  by 
Gaudenzio  Ferrari,  commonly  called  Gaudenzio  Milanese,  who  is  said 
by  some  to  have  been  the  pupil  of  Perugino,  and  by  others  of  Luini, 
but  of  whose  work,  the  best  that  exists  is  by  common  consent  traced  to 
the  study  of  the  paintings  of  Leonardo.  Of  this  altar-piece,  Waagen 
points  out  "  the  well-balanced  composition,  the  noble  feeling  in  the 
heads,  the  tender  and  clear  tone  of  the  flesh,  and  the  equally  sustained 
and  careful  treatment."  The  "  Virgin  and  Child,"  said  to  be  by  Andrea 
del  Sarto,  which  hangs  close  by,  is,  according  to  the  same  authority,  more 
probably  a  copy  by  Jacopo  da  Empoli  ;  in  any  case  we  know  that  the 
latter  carefully  studied  the  productions  of  the  greater  man,  and  was  so 
excellent  a  copyist  that  even  the  best  judges  have  been  deceived  by 
his  work. 

There  also  hang  in  this  room,  a  "  Holy  Family "  by  Bonifazio,  an 
interesting  work,  although  one  must,  of  course,  go  to  the  churches  and 
palaces  of  Venice  to  see  the  master's  finest  achievements  ;  and  a  beautiful 
"  Virgin  and  Child  "  by  Perugino,  that  delightful  painter  whose  greatest 
glory,  however,  will  ever  be  that  he  had  Raphael  for  his  pupil.  Here  is 
also  a  "  Magdalen  "  by  Guercino,  and  another  by  Domenichino  ;  while  a 
beautiful  little  "  Virgin  and  Child  "  by  Luini,  and  a  "  Holy  Family  "  by 
Sassoferrato  are  also  worth  most  careful  attention. 

Portraits  by  Paul  Veronese,  Tintoretto,  and  Palma  Vecchio  represent 
the  Venetian  school,  and  a  head  by  Luini  curiously  reminds  one,  in 
many  of  its  characteristics,  of  the  work  of  the  great  Leonardo  who  is 
supposed  to  have  been  the  painter's  master.  Besides  these  there  are 
examples  of  the  work  of  Lorenzo  Lotto,^  the  pupil  of  Giovanni  Bellini ; 
Schiavone,  whose  beauty  of  colouring  was  due  to  his  careful  study  of  the 
work  of  Titian  ;  Mabuse,  whom  our  Henry  VH.  patronised  ;  and  to  leap 
over  some  intervening  centuries,  there  also  hangs  here  the  picture,  by  Sir 
Joshua,  of  Lady  Townshend,  one  of  the  three  beautiful  daughters  of  Sir 

'  The  portrait  of  a  lady  with  a  little  dog  was  formerly  attributed  to  this  painter,  but  has 
since  been  supposed  to  be  the  work  of  Pietro  Luzzo,  called  Morto  da  Feltro. 


2  54    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

William  Montgomery,  who  was  married  to  the  first  Marquis  Townshend 
in  1776;  and  with  these  there  is  a  portrait  of  an  old  lady  by  Greuze,  but 
very  unlike  in  style  his  characteristic  productions. 

Teniers's  well-known  "  Bonnet  blanc,"  representing  a  group  of  rustics 
playing  cards,  which  gains  its  title  from  a  white  cap  hanging  on  the  chair 
occupied  by  the  principal  figure,  is  also  here,  as  is  a  "  Village  Fair  "  by 
Wouvermanns  ;  a  poetical  though  rather  dark  landscape  by  Caspar 
Poussin ;  a  Crucifixion  by  Cuido ;  and  a  landscape  by  Salvator  Rosa  ; 
there  is  also  an  interesting  study  of  the  "  Raising  of  the  Cross  "  by 
Rubens,  a  sketch  for  the  Triptych  in  Antwerp  Cathedral,  of  which  there  is 
a  somewhat  similar  drawing  in  the  Louvre  ;  but  the  gem  of  the  room 
is  the  glorious  Cuyp,  a  "  View  of  Dort,"  which  is  flooded  with  that 
glorious  golden  light  which  characterises  the  magnificent  "  Landing  of 
Prince  Maurice  at  Dordrecht,"  in  Lord  EUesmere's  collection.  The 
Dorchester  House  example  of  this  great  master  is  a  long  picture,  and  is 
said  to  have  once  been  divided  down  the  centre  ;  if  this  was  so,  it  is  lucky 
that  the  two  portions  have  been  so  carefully  joined  that  the  vandalism 
is  not  apparent.  Well  may  Waagen  say  of  this  superb  picture,  that  in 
it  Cuyp  "  outdoes  himself  in  the  delicate  harmony  of  gradations  and 
the  enchanting  transparency  of  tones  with  which  he  expresses  the  sunny 
stillness  of  the  scene  "  ! 

In  the  Red  Drawing  Room  there  is  a  similar  profusion  of  fine 
pictures,  but  here  the  works  are  nearly  wholly  confined  to  the  Dutch 
and  Flemish  schools,  although  there  is  "  A  Man  holding  a  Skull  "  by 
Murillo,  and  two  Velasquezs  ;  one,  a  portrait  of  Philip  the  Fourth, 
and  the  other  a  magnificent  full-length  of  the  Due  d'Olivares.  The 
elaboration  of  contour,  which  is  so  distinctive  a  note  in  this  fine  picture, 
has  been  observed  by  Sir  Walter  Armstrong.  The  great  statesman  is 
here  represented,  dressed  in  black,  against  a  dark  background,  and  holding 
in  his  right  hand  the  wand  of  office  as  Master  of  the  Horse ;  the 
picture  was  painted  between  1615  and  1623,  and  the  head  greatly 
resembles  that  executed  by  Rubens,  probably  in  1628,  which  was 
formerly  at  Hamilton  Palace.  The  Philip  IV.,  although  apparently  an 
earlier  work  of  the  painter,  and  showing,  therefore,  somewhat  obviously 
certain  conventions  of  style  which  characterised  Velasquez's  more  immature 
conceptions,  is  an  elaborate  piece  of  work,  and  shows  us  the  King  as  a 
young  man,  holding  a  baton  in  his  right  hand,  and  dressed  ready  to  take 
the  field. 

But  perhaps  the  most  remarkable  canvas  in  the  room  is  Vandyck's 
famous  full-length  of  Scaliger,  one  of  the  Spanish  Ambassadors  at  the 
Congress  of  Westphalia,  in  which  all  the  painter's  transcendent  merits 


ti^  i 


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DORCHESTER   HOUSE  255 

as  a  portrait-painter  are  brought  into  full  play,  and  his  great  qualities 
of  tone  and  perfect  draughtsmanship,  are  exhibited  in  a  remarkable 
manner.  When  I  speak  of  this  as  being  perhaps  the  most  noticeable 
picture  in  this  apartment  I  do  not  overlook  the  fact  that  Rembrandt 
is  here  represented  by  a  fine  full  face  of  Titus  van  Ryn,  painted,  according 
to  M.  Michel,  about  1660,  which  has  some  affinity  to  the  earlier  repre- 
sentation of  Titus  (1655)  formerly  in  the  Kahn  collection. 

Besides  these  great  works  are  a  number  of  extraordinarily  line  examples 
of  the  Dutch  school,  by  such  men  as  Ostade,  and  Karl  du  Jardin  ;  Van 
der  Velde,  and  Wouvermanns ;  Teniers,  Backhuysen,  and  Both.  Ruysdael 
is  represented  by  a  landscape  known  as  the  "  Coup  de  Soleil,"  which  was 
exhibited  at  Manchester  in  1857,  and  in  the  "Old  Masters"  thirty- 
seven  years  later  ;  Paul  Potters'  so-called  "  Rabbit  Warren,"  signed, 
and  dated  1647,  also  hangs  here,  as  does  the  superb  "Water  Mill"  by 
Hobbema,  executed  in  1663,  which  was  once  in  Hamilton  Palace,  and 
for  which  Mr.  Holford  paid  the  high  price  of  over  _^4000.  Close  by,  in 
somewhat  curious  juxtaposition,  hangs  one  of  Pater's  insoucia?it  canvases. 

Naturally  the  pictures  which  I  have  noted  do  not  exhaust  the  remark- 
able collection  at  Dorchester  House  ;  to  do  that  would  require  something 
approaching  the  minute  investigation  which  such  men  as  Waagen  and 
Smith  have  paid  to  the  artistic  treasures  heaped  up  in  the  great  houses 
of  this  country  ;  but  I  hope  I  have  succeeded  in  giving  some  idea  of  the 
beauty  as  well  as  the  catholicity  of  the  Holford  collection  ;  to  do  more 
would  be  to  go  beyond  the  scope  of  this  book.  Nor  is  it  possible  for  me  to 
do  more  than  mention  the  other  artistic  treasures  enshrined  in  Dorchester 
House,  such  as  the  marble  busts,  one  of  Henry  IV.  of  France,  in  black 
marble,  being  particularly  noticeable  ;  the  magnificently  carved  ebony 
cabinet  of  Italian  work  which  stands  in  the  Corridor,  or  the  Luca  della 
Robbia  plaques  that  hang  under  the  loggia  of  the  Entrance  Hall  ;  but, 
above  all,  the  well-nigh  priceless  collection  of  books,  in  which  the  produc- 
tions of  the  presses  of  Caxton,  Wynken  de  Worde,  and  Pynsen,  are  only 
equalled  by  the  extraordinary  number  and  value  of  the  block-books  and 
illuminated  missals.  One  of  the  chief  of  the  great  purchases  made  by 
Mr.  Holford  was  the  splendid  library  collected  by  Lord  Vernon,  the  great 
Dante  scholar  and  enthusiast ;  and  among  the  treasures  at  Dorchester 
House  will  be  found  practically  every  work  of  importance  printed  in  Italy 
before  1500,  including  those  books  illustrated  both  on  copper  and  on  wood, 
such  as,  among  the  former,  the  Monte  Sante  di  Dio  of  1472,  and  among 
the  latter  the  famous  Naples  ^sop  and  the  Trilocolo  of  Boccaccio  of  a 
few  years  earlier. 

A  feature  of  the  wondrous  assemblage  is  the  number  of  works  printed 


256     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES    OF   LONDON 

on  vellum,  notably  a  copy  of  the  Hypnerotomachia,  of  which  there  is  also 
a  large  paper  copy  of  exceeding  rarity.  Here,  too,  is  a  Terence  printed 
in  1496,  and  a  Horace  dated  two  years  later,  and  printed  at  Strasburg 
by  Johann  Reinhard  ;  Jenson's  large  Vulgate  printed  on  vellum  at 
Venice,  in  1479,  and  the  French  translation  of  the  Golden  Legend,  also 
on  vellum,  published  by  Verard,  in  1488,  as  well  as  the  English  version, 
printed  in  1527.  There  is,  also,  a  splendid  series  of  classical  works  in 
all  languages,  and  famous  editions  of  well-known  books  ;  from  folios  of 
elephantine  size,  containing  the  works  of  Piranesi  and  David  Roberts ; 
to  the  dear  "  dumpy  twelves  "  of  the  once  so  popular  Elzevir  Press, 
including  that  rarest  of  its  productions,  the  famous  Pastissier  Franfats, 
of  which  the  scarcity  is  not  surprising,  when  we  know  that  it  was  the 
"  Mrs.  Beeton "  of  the  period,  and  was  constantly  referred  to  by 
seventeenth-century  cooks,  and  was  much  more  frequently  to  be  found 
in  the  kitchen  than  in  the  library.  Here  m.ay  also  be  seen  such  gems 
as  the  first  editions  of  the  Pilgrim's  Progress  and  the  Coinplete  Angler, 
inter  alia,  while  there  are  two  priceless  volumes  of  Americana,  one, 
a  fat  little  volume  of  those  scarce  tracts  for  which  battle  is  done  at 
Sotheby's  and  Puttick's  on  the  rare  occasions  when  any  of  them  come  into 
the  market  ;  and  the  other  the  original  large  paper  copy  of  John  Smith's 
History  of  Virginia,  presented  by  the  author  to  the  Cordwainers'  Company 
which  sent  him  out  there,  and  containing  a  remarkable  and,  of  course, 
unique  letter  of  dedication  to  that  body. 

The  MSS.  date  from  the  ninth  to  the  sixteenth  century,  and  are 
another  proof,  if  one  were  wanted,  of  their  collector's  admirable  dis- 
crimination and  catholicity  of  taste  ;  among  them  I  may  mention  the 
Livre  d'Heures  of  Anne  of  Bretagne,  and  the  Venetian  MS.  dated  about 
15 10,  and  signed  by  one  Benedetto  Bordone  ;  as  well  as  the  wonderful 
ninth-century  Gospels,  written  in  gold  ;  and  a  thousand  other  rarities 
over  which  the  spirits  of  Heber  and  Beckford  must  surely  hover,  if  the 
ghosts  of  those  mighty  bibliophiles  ever  revisit  the  glimpses  of  the  moon.^ 

All  these  works  are  gorgeously  clothed  by  the  great  binders  of  the  last 
three  centuries,  who  have  set  on  them  the  seal  of  their  artistic  feeling  and 
consummate  skill,  and  many  of  the  volumes  have  had  a  provenance  from  the 
shelves  of  some  famous  bibliophile  whose  most  loving  care  for  them  could 
hardly  have  desired  a  more  splendid  resting-place  than  the  library  of 
Dorchester  House,  where  they  are  locked  away  in  splendid  security,  and, 
unfortunately,  for  a  time  at  least,  seem  destined  to  fulfil  but  a  part  of 
their  destiny — that  of  being  merely  decorative  objects. 

'  This  year  (1908)  the  Burlington  Fine  Arts  Club  is  holding  an  exhibition  of  some  of  the 
MSS.  from  Dorchester  House. 


the  one 


Mr. 


258     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

From  what  I  have  said  about  this  great  house  it  will  be  seen  that 
there  is  a  homogeneity  about  its  internal  as  well  as  external  decoration 
which  justified  me,  I  think,  in  calling  it  an  Italian  palace  dropped  on 
to  an  alien  soil ;  its  contents  are  also  in  keeping,  except  that  the  purist 
might  object  to  the  presence  of  works  by  the  Dutch  masters  in  close 
proximity  to  those  by  great  Italian  painters  ;  but  this  is  almost  inevitable 
where  catholicity  of  taste  is  combined  with  artistic  appreciation  ;  and 
when  one  remembers  the  noble  Rembrandts,  the  sylvan  beauty  of  the 
Hobbema,  the  light  that  never  was  on  land  or  sea,  with  which  Cuyp  has, 
as  it  were,  flooded  his  "  View  of  Dort,"  even  the  most  critical  will  be  ready 
to  forgive  an  anachronism  for  the  sake  of  the  beauties  that  cause  it. 

When  we  have  seen  the  Dorchester  House  collection  we  have  gazed 
on  some  of  the  finest  Rembrandts  and  Vandycks  in  existence  ;  and  we 
have  passed  through  a  collection  of  Dutch  pictures  which  is  extraordi- 
narily complete,  the  only  masters  of  importance  absent  from  it  being 
Terburg  and  Metsu,  Jan  Steen,  and  the  rare  Vermeer  of  Delft.  Besides 
those  artists  to  whose  work  I  have  previously  referred,  there  are 
examples  of  Gonzales  Coques,  Paul  Potter,  Van  der  Neer,  in  this  case  a 
skating  scene,  and  not  one  of  those  moonlight  effects  for  which  he  was 
famous,  Mieris,  Rubens,  and  De  Vos,  to  mention  but  these. 

But  what  will  chiefly  strike  the  visitor  to  Dorchester  House,  is  un- 
doubtedly the  exquisite  taste  and  wide  range  of  artistic  sympathy  which  was 
so  characteristic  of  the  late  Mr.  Holford.  Nothing,  provided  it  was  first- 
rate,  was  rejected  by  him,  unless  the  exigencies  of  the  house  prevented 
his  hanging  a  picture  in  such  a  position  as,  in  his  mature  opinion,  it  should 
be  hung  ;  but  given  such  unfavourable  conditions,  he  has  been  known 
to  refuse  such  masterpieces  as  Bellini's  "  Doge  Lonedano,"  and  the  great 
Francian  "  Entombment "  Altar-piece  with  the  Pieta  lunette,  which  now 
hangs  in  the  National  Gallery.  With  this  purity  of  taste  and  exquisite 
sensitiveness  to  artistic  propriety  went  hand  in  hand  that  remarkable 
catholicity  of  which  the  collection  at  Dorchester  House  is  but  one 
example  ;  to  gauge  this  trait  thoroughly  one  would  also  have  to  study 
the  splendid  gallery  at  Westonbirt,  in  Gloucestershire,  a  number  of  the 
pictures  from  which  magnificent  place  were  recently  exhibited  in  the 
"  Old  Masters  "  at  BurHngton  House. 

Nothing,  perhaps,  shows  more  clearly  and  forcibly  than  the  Holford 
collection  how  masterpieces,  of  whatever  school  and  period,  hang  together 
with  an  extraordinary  fitness  ;  the  collocation  of  such  works  of  art  in  the 
Tribune  at  Florence  or  the  Salon  carre  in  the  Louvre  shows  this,  while 
the  collections  at  Dorchester  House  and  Westonbirt  further  prove  it. 

In  Dorchester  House  every  picture  seems  to  occupy  its  appointed 


DORCHESTER    HOUSE  259 

place  ;  there  is  here  no  crowding,  no  confusion.  Many  galleries  contain 
one  masterpiece  for  half-a-dozen  indifferent  works  ;  but  here,  as,  too,  in 
Grosvenor  House,  there  is  a  rightness  about  every  work  hanging  on  the 
walls,  which  points  to  a  trained  mind  in  its  acquisition  and  an  aptitude 
for  selection  which  creates  taste  out  of  enthusiasm.  Nor  does  this  excellent 
characteristic  show  itself  only  in  the  pictorial  treasures  housed  here ;  the 
decorations  of  every  room,  every  piece  of  furniture  or  objet  d'art  which 
is  contained  in  the  mansion  is  eloquent  of  this  perfect  discrimination  ; 
while  the  magnificent  collection  of  prints  and  etchings,  now  dispersed, 
and  the  wonderful  library  of  printed  books  and  illuminated  missals,  help 
to  further  prove  it  beyond  all  question. 


CHAPTER    XII 

GROSVENOR    HOUSE 

THE  more  or  less  uniform  regularity  of  Upper  Grosvenor  Street 
is  broken  towards  its  upper  end  by  a  magnificent  open  stone 
screen  of  Roman  Doric  design,  which,  with  its  two  carriage 
entrances,  extends  no  less  than  no  feet.  The  pediments  of 
this  screen  bear  the  Grosvenor  arms,  and  above  the  entrances  for  pedes- 
trians are  sculptured  the  four  Seasons,  although  the  sceptical  might 
well  question  whether  any  residence  in  London  enjoys  more  than  two, 
or  at  the  most  three,  of  these  divisions  of  the  year.  Between  the 
columns  appear  massive  candelabra,  which,  like  the  gates,  are  of  elaborate 
metal  work,  sculptured  in  foliage  and  fruit  and  flower  work,  intertwined 
with  figures  and  armorial  designs.  This  really  beautiful  piece  of  work 
was  designed  by  T.  Cundy  in  1842,  and  forms  the  entrance  to  the  Duke 
of  Westminster's  town  residence,  which  is  known  to  all  Londoners  as 
Grosvenor  House,  and  as  one  of  those  great  mansions  which  it  is  the 
pleasure  and  privilege  of  their  noble  owners  to  throw  open  to  the  public 
when  any  scheme  of  charity  or  artistic  endeavour  is  toward. 

The  mansion  itself  faces  south,  and  is  curiously  early  Victorian  in 
design,  having  some  resemblance,  although  on  a  far  larger  scale,  to 
Kingston  House,  Knightsbridge,  where  the  semicircular  projecting 
verandah  seems  to  challenge  more  modern  methods,  and  to  assert  some 
claims  for  an  architectural  style  which  has  long  been  supposed  to  have 
"  seen  its  best  day,"  as  the  saying  is.  In  curious  contrast  with  this  main 
building  is  the  great  Picture  Gallery,  which  projects  from  the  west  side 
of  the  house,  and  extends  almost  to  the  frontage  of  the  property  on 
Park  Lane.  This  Ball  Room  or  Picture  Gallery,  for  it  is  used  as  both, 
was  also  the  work  of  Cundy,  and  was  erected  at  the  same  time  as  the  great 
entrance  in  Upper  Grosvenor  Street.  It  consists  of  a  Corinthian  colon- 
nade, with  six  statues  at  intervals  between  the  columns,  and  an  attic ; 
and  is  based  on  the  design  of  Trajan's  Forum  at  Rome  ;  on  the  acroteria, 
to  use  an  architectural  term,  which  means,  for  the  uninitiated,  the 
pedestals  for  statues  or  similar  decorations  at  the  apex,  or  lower  corners. 


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GROSVENOR   HOUSE  261 

of  a  pediment,  a  balustrade  runs  along,  and  vases  break  the  regularity  of 
this  ;  while  between  the  columns  sculptured  festoons  of  flowers  and 
fruit  help  to  further  relieve  the  design,  and  to  give  it  an  effect  of  richness 

As  in  the  case  of  several  other  great  London  mansions,  the  earlier 
history  of  Grosvenor  House  is  wrapt  in  some  obscurity.  It  would  appear 
to  have  been  originally  built  for  William  Henry,  Duke  of  Gloucester,  a 
younger  brother  of  George  HI.,  and  to  have  been  first  known,  in  con- 
sequence, as  Gloucester  House.  The  Duke  was  born  in  1743,  and  died 
in  1805,  having  married  secretly,  in  1766,  Maria  Walpole,  Dowager 
Countess  of  Waldegrave.  This  marriage  was  made  known  in  1772,  on 
the  passing  of  the  Royal  Marriage  Act,  and  in  consequence  of  the  King's 
anger  the  Duke  and  Duchess  lived  abroad  for  a  number  of  years,  certainly 
as  late  as  1787,  in  which  year  a  letter  to  Mrs.  Fitzherbert  from  the  Duke 
is  extant,  dated  from  Florence.  It  is  therefore  probable  that  Gloucester 
House  was  built  at  some  period  subsequent  to  this  date,  when  the  Duke 
and  Duchess  had  returned,  and  were  living  in  London.^  On  the  death 
of  the  Duke  in  1805,  the  property  was  taken  over  by  the  second  Earl 
of  Grosvenor,  who  had  succeeded  to  the  title  three  years  earlier. 

For  a  London  dwelling  the  grounds  attached  to  Grosvenor  House 
are  of  very  considerable  size,  and  extend  from  Upper  Grosvenor  Street 
to  Mount  Street,  occupying  the  large  space  between  Park  Street  and 
Park  Lane.  That  they  should  cover  this  large  area  is  appropriate,  for 
in  this  fashionable  quarter  of  the  town  the  Grosvenor  family  have  long 
possessed  immense  property,  as  the  result  of  the  marriage  of  Sir  Thomas 
Grosvenor,  the  third  baronet,  with  Mary,  daughter  and  heiress  of 
Alexander  Davies,  of  Ebury,  in  Middlesex.  It  was  their  son.  Sir  Richard, 
the  fourth  baronet,  that  "  mighty  builder  "  who,  about  fifty  years  later, 
developed  this  valuable  estate  to  such  advantage,  and  who,  among  other 
work,  laid  out  Grosvenor  Square.  His  nephew,  Richard  Grosvenor,  son 
of  Sir  Robert  Grosvenor,  who  was  born  on  June  18,  1731,  and  succeeded 
as  seventh  baronet  in  1755,  was  created,  six  years  later,  Baron  Grosvenor 
of  Eaton,  and  was  further  raised  in  dignity,  in  1784,  with  the  titles  of 
Viscount  Belgrave  and  Earl  Grosvenor.  His  son,  Robert,  succeeded  to 
the  titles  in  1802,  and  in  1831  was  created  Marquis  of  Westminster, 
having  married,  in  1794,  Lady  Eleanor  Egerton,  only  daughter  and 
heiress  of  Thomas,  first  Earl  of  Wilton.  Although  this  marriage  helped 
to  further  aggrandise  the  family  in  wealth  and  influence,  which,  so  far 
at  least  as  the  latter  was  concerned,  was  further  enhanced  by  the  marriages 
of  the  second  and  third  Marquises,  to  daughters  of  the  first  and  second 

'  The  Duke  was  living  in  a  small  house  known  as  the  Pavilions,  in  Hampton  Court  Park 
in  1795,  t>"t  of  course  this  is  quite  consonant  with  his  then  having  also  a  London  residence. 


262     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Dukes  of  Sutherland  respectively,  the  chief  source  of  the  enormous 
wealth  of  the  late  and  present  Dukes  of  Westminster  (for  the  third 
Marquis,  grandfather  of  the  present  holder  of  the  title,  was  created  a 
Duke  in  1874)  was  laid  by  the  purchase  by  the  first  Lord  Grosvenor, 
in  1 761,  of  that  large  tract  of  what  was  then  merely  marshy  ground, 
but  which  is  now  covered  with  houses  and  streets  known  collectively 
as  Belgravia ;  in  early  days,  and  indeed  up  to  1826,  it  was  termed  the 
Five  Fields,  where  it  is  a  question  whether  ague  and  rheumatism  were 
less  to  be  feared  than  the  foot-pads  that  then  haunted  this  insanitary 
spot.  The  enterprise  and  what  may,  I  think,  be  termed  the  genius,  of 
Cubitt,  converted  this  morass  (for  it  was  little  better),  by  a  system  of 
scientific  drainage,  into  a  healthy  neighbourhood,  and  the  splendid  houses 
and  squares  with  which  he  developed  it  have  made  it  not  only  habitable 
but  one  of  the  most  fashionable  localities  in  London. 

This  long  parenthesis  has  taken  us  a  considerable  way  from  Grosvenor 
House,  in  which,  if  we  return  to  it,  we  shall  find  a  collection  of  magnificent 
pictures,  and  works  of  art,  second  to  hardly  any  in  the  metropolis. 
The  founder  of  this  superb  assemblage  was  that  Richard,  first  Earl 
Grosvenor,  whom  I  have  mentioned  above,  as  succeeding  to  the  family 
baronetcy  in  1755.  No  sooner  had  he  done  so  than  he  began  to  emulate 
the  then  relatively  few,  other  than  royal,  picture  collectors,  buying  largely, 
and  as  is  frequently  the  case  with  those  indulging  in  a  new  hobby,  often 
not  very  judiciously.^  As,  however,  he  did  not  confine  his  purchases  to 
any  particular  school,  he  managed  to  add  to  his  gallery  some  excellent 
works,  especially  as  price  was  not  a  matter  of  moment  to  him.  Thus  at 
the  dispersal  of  Sir  Luke  Schaub's  collection,  in  1758,  he  purchased 
Guido's  "  Infant  Christ,"  '  and  Charles  Lebrun's  "  Alexander  in  the  Tent 
of  Darius  "  ;  giving  300  guineas  for  the  former,  and  {^■'2.']  for  the 
latter ;  prices  which  were,  at  that  time,  considered  excessive.  Five 
years  later  he  commissioned  Mr.  Dalton,  then  about  to  set  out  for 
Italy  to  make  purchases  for  George  III.,  whose  librarian  he  was,  to 
buy  pictures  for  him  ;  the  result  being  two  works  by  Ludovico  Caracci 
and  Baroccio,  among  others.  The  former  represents  "  The  Vision  of 
St.  Francis,"  and  is  an  altogether  beautiful  work ;  while  the  latter,  called 
"  La  Vierge  a  I'Ecuelle,"  is  obviously  inspired  by  Correggio's  "  Madonna 
della  Scodella." 

Among  the  other  works  brought  together  by  the  first  Earl  Grosvenor, 
among  many  of  but  second-rate  importance,  were  "  The   Bear   Hunt  " 

1  The   collection   was  then  located   in   Millbank    House,  Westminster,  which   had   been 
built,  about  1720,  for  Charles  Mordaunt,  Earl  of  Peterborough,  but  is  now  no  more. 
-  Now  hanging  in  the  Saloon  ;  Lebrun's  work  is  not  now  at  Grosvenor  House. 


GROSVENOR   HOUSE  263 

by  Snyders,  and  the  "  Fortuna  "  by  Guido,'  a  replica  of  the  picture 
in  the  Vatican. 

Thus  was  a  nucleus  formed  of  a  gallery  of  old  masters,^  but  Sir 
Richard  Grosvenor's  best  investments  were,  undoubtedly,  the  works  of 
contemporary  painters,  which  he  purchased  indirectly,  or  for  which  he 
gave  commissions  directly  to  the  artists,  as  will  be  recognised  when  we 
remember  that  these  included  works  by  Reynolds  and  Gainsborough, 
Northcote,  Stubbs,  and  Wilson.  By  far  the  most  important  additions  to 
the  collection  were,  however,  made  by  the  second  Earl  Grosvenor,  who 
in  the  year  in  which  he  moved  to  Grosvenor  House,  purchased  en  bloc  the 
splendid  collection  formed  by  Mr.  Agar-Ellis.  As  we  shall  see  when 
examining  the  pictures  in  the  various  rooms  at  Grosvenor  House,  those 
that  had  this  provenance  are  among  some  of  the  finest  in  the  collection  ; 
a  collection  which  is  probably  freer  from  indifferent  work  than  any 
other  in  London,  with  the  possible  exception  of  that  at  Dorchester  House  ; 
and  of  the  hundred  and  thirty  odd  pictures  included  in  the  private 
catalogue  there  is  hardly  a  single  picture  that  might  not  be  considered  a 
valuable  addition  to  any  collection,  and  nearly  every  one  would  be  a  gem 
in  an  assemblage  less  richly  endowed  with  carefully  selected  masterpieces. 

In  some  respects  the  two  principal  works  by  Reynolds  and  Gains- 
borough which  hang  in  Grosvenor  House  are  among  the  best  known 
pictures  in  the  world  ;  one  is  "  Mrs.  Siddons  as  the  Tragic  Muse,"  the 
other  "  The  Blue  Boy,"  both  of  which  now  hang  in  the  Drawing  Room. 
The  former  great  work  was  painted  in  1784,  and  although  the  main  idea  of 
the  pose  is  said  to  have  been  suggested  by  the  "  Isaiah  "  of  Michael  Angclo, 
yet  Mrs.  Siddons  once  informed  Mr.  Phillips  "  that  it  was  the  production 
of  pure  accident."  "  Sir  Joshua,"  we  are  told,  "  had  begun  the  head  and 
figure  in  a  different  view  ;  but  while  he  was  occupied  in  the  preparation 
of  some  colour,  she  changed  her  position  to  look  at  a  picture  hanging 
on  the  wall  of  the  room.  When  he  again  looked  at  her,  and  saw  the 
action  she  had  assumed,  he  requested  her  not  to  move  ;  and  thus  arose 
the  beautiful  and  expressive  figure  we  now  see  in  the  picture." 

Although  Hazlitt  once  said  of  this  great  work  :  "  It  is  neither  the 
tragic  muse  nor  Mrs.  Siddons,"  Sir  Joshua  thought  as  highly  of  it  as 
other  great  critics  have  done,  and  evidence  of  this  is  shown  by  the  fact 
that  he  signed  his  name  on  the  border  of  the  drapery,'  telling  Mrs.  Siddons 

'  No.  58  and  63  in  Young's  Catalogue  of  the  Grosvenor  Pictures.  The  latter  alone  is  now 
at  Grosvenor  House. 

^  For  a  complete  list  of  the  pictures  as  they  were  at  that  time,  see  Young's  Catuloi^ue  of 
the  Pictures  at  Grosvenor  J/oiise,  published  in  IVlay  1820.  This  work  was  dedicated  to  Earl 
Grosvenor,  and  was  prepared  under  his  auspices ;  it  contains  etchings  of  143  pictures. 

'  He  did  the  same  in  the  case  of  the  "Lady  Cockburn,"  now  in  the  National  Gallery. 
But  signing  his  pictures  was  a  very  rare  habit  with  him. 


264     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

that  he  "  could  not  lose  the  honour  this  opportunity  afforded  him  of 
going  down  to  posterity  on  the  hem  of  her  garment."  It  is  said 
that  on  one  occasion  when  looking  at  the  picture  at  Grosvenor  House, 
Mrs.  Siddons  remarked  that  Sir  Joshua  wanted  to  work  more  on  the  face, 
but  that  she  told  him  that  if  he  did  so,  he  would  spoil  it,  whereupon 
he  took  her  advice  and  left  it  untouched.  The  work  was  bought  by 
M.  de  Calonne  for  800  guineas,  on  the  dispersal  of  whose  collection,  in 
1795,  it  was  purchased  by  W.  Smith,  Esq.,  M.P.,  for  Norwich,  for  ^^700. 
He  subsequently  sold  it  to  Mr.  Watson  Taylor,  for  ^^900  ;  and  when 
the  Watson  Taylor  pictures  were  dispersed,  in  1822,  it  came  into  the 
possession  of  Lord  Grosvenor,  at  the  price  of  £1^60}  There  are  at  least 
three  replicas  of  this  great  work  ;  the  best  known,  though  anything  but 
the  best,  is  in  the  Dulwich  Gallery,  which,  according  to  Northcote,  was 
not  painted  by  Sir  Joshua  at  all,  but  by  one  of  his  pupils  named  Score. 

"  The  Blue  Boy,"  painted  in  1779,^  is  an  almost  equally  famous  work. 
It  represents  Master  Jonathan  Buttall,  son  of  Mr.  Buttall  of  Greek  Street, 
Soho,  standing  at  full-length,  in  a  blue  satin  dress  of  the  Stuart  period  ; 
and  was  the  outcome  of  a  dispute  between  Gainsborough  and  other 
painters,  particularly  Sir  Joshua,  who  laid  down  the  axiom^  that  a  pre- 
ponderance of  blue  in  a  picture  was  to  be  deprecated  as  spoiling  a  good 
colour  scheme.  One  can  hardly  imagine  a  more  effective  rejoinder,  a 
more  telling  disproof  of  the  accuracy  of  this  assertion,  than  this  super- 
latively fine  production.  The  canvas  originally  belonged  to  Mr.  Buttall, 
and  later  to  his  son  (the  subject  of  the  picture),  on  whose  death  ir  was 
purchased  by  a  Mr.  Nesbit,  from  whom  it  is  said  to  have  passed  to 
George,  Prince  of  Wales  ;  later  it  became  the  property  of  Hoppner,  who, 
however,  eventually  sold  it  to  Earl  Grosvenor. 

I  may  mention  here  that  there  are  at  Grosvenor  House  two  of  Gains- 
borough's most  successful  landscapes  ;  one,  "  The  Cottage  Door,"  the 
other,  "  A  Coast  Scene."  They  both  hang  in  the  Ante-Drawing  Room ; 
the  former  was  purchased  by  the  first  Marquis  of  Westminster,  at  the 
sale  of  Lord  de  Tabley's  pictures  in  1828  ;  and  the  other  was  painted 
specially  for  the  first  Earl  Grosvenor.  They  are  among  the  best  of 
Gainsborough's  work  in  landscape,  which  is,  perhaps,  tantamount  to 
saying  that  they  are  among  the  finest  landscapes  in  the  world. 

In  Grosvenor  House  there  are  six  stately  rooms  in  each  of  which  hang 
a  number  of  splendid  works  of  art,  and  all  of  which  are  decorated  with 
lavishness  combined  with  excellent  taste.  Every  picture  is  separately 
lighted  by  electric  light  hidden  behind  a  reflector  ;    so  that  even  the 

^  According  to  Mrs.  Jameson  ;  Mr.  Redford,  however,  puts  it  at  ^1837. 
"  No.  16  in  Young's  Catalogue. 


GROSVENOR   HOUSE  265 

merits  of  those  which  have  necessarily  to  be  hung  in  a  less  effective 
position  than  others,  can  be  minutely  judged. 

In  the  Dining  Room  there  hang  as  many  as  thirty-one  canvases,  no 
less  than  seven  of  which  are  by  Claude.  Two  of  these  works  are  stated 
by  Waagen  to  be  among  the  largest  the  artist  ever  painted  ;  they  are 
known  respectively  as  "  The  Worship  of  the  Golden  Calf,"  and  "  The 
Sermon  on  the  Mount,"  and  if  not  to  be  classed  with  the  master's  greatest 
achievements,  they  still  combine  many  of  his  remarkable  qualities.  Both 
came  from  the  Agar-Ellis  collection  ;  the  former  being  painted,  on  the 
authority  of  the  Liber  Veritatis,  for  Signor  Carlo  Cadillo,  in  1655, 
although  Young,  in  his  Catalogue  of  the  Grosvenor  Gallery,  asserts  that  it  was 
executed  for  Sir  Peter  Lely,^  and  it  is  so  stated  in  the  private  catalogue 
where  it  is  also  affirmed  that  Sir  Peter  had  stipulated  that  no  figures 
should  appear,  as  he  intended  to  introduce  these  himself,  but  that  Claude 
sent  him  the  canvas  full  of  figures  and  told  him  he  could  keep  it  or  not 
as  he  liked.  Of  the  second  picture,  Mrs.  Jameson  states  that  an  old  lady 
was  so  filled  with  admiration  for  it  that  she  offered  Mr.  Agar-Ellis  a 
handsome  annuity,  merely  to  be  allowed  the  loan  of  the  canvas  during  her 
life,  an  anecdote  one  can  well  believe  as  one  gazes  at  this  consummate  work. 

Another  pair  of  "  Claudes  "  are  known  as  "  Morning,"  and  "  Evening," 
and  are  of  superlative  merit  and  beauty.  Painted  in  165 1  (at  least  the 
latter  bears  this  date),  Mrs.  Jameson  supposes  them  to  be  identical  with 
the  two  works  which  were  in  the  Blondel  de  Gaguy  collection,  and  which 
were  sold,  in  1776,  for  24,000  francs.  That  their  value  increased  by 
leaps  and  bounds  is  evidenced  by  the  fact  that,  on  the  death  of  Mr.  Agar- 
Ellis  in  whose  collection  they  were,  a  foreign  collector  is  said  to  have 
offered  no  less  than  ;^8ooo  for  them,  but  Lord  Grosvenor  had,  luckily, 
already  forestalled  this  tempting  bid. 

Two  other  landscapes  by  the  same  master  are  known  as  "  The  Rise, 
and  the  Decline  of  the  Roman  Empire,"  as  they  represent  in  the  middle 
distance  Rome  in  its  glory,  and  in  its  ruin.^ 

By  Rembrandt,  there  are  no  less  than  five  superb  portraits  in  the 
Dining  Room.  Of  these,  the  presentments  of  Nicholas  Berghem,  the 
painter,  and  of  his  wife,  are  perhaps  the  most  interesting.  Both  are 
signed  and  dated  1647,  and  that  of  the  artist  was  executed  when  he  was 
about  twenty-seven.  There  is  also  a  superb  little  portrait  of  Rembrandt 
himself,  representing  him  at  about  the  age  of  twenty,  habited  as  a  soldier, 
which  is  supposed  to  be  the  most  youthful  of  the  many  pictures  the 

'  Mrs.  Jameson  doubts  this,  on  the  ground  that  there  was  no  such  work  in  the  catalogue  of 
Lely's  pictures,  and  also  from  absence  of  any  other  proof. 

-  The  latter  is  now  removed  to  another  room  as  we  shall  see. 


266     THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF    LONDON 

painter  produced  of  himself.  It  was  formerly  in  the  collection  of  Calonne. 
Another  portrait  hy  the  same  master  is  that  of  a  man  with  a  hawk, 
dated  1643,  and  together  with  one  of  a  lady  with  a  fan,  has  evoked  the 
wonder  and  admiration  of  critics,  as  it  cannot  fail  to  do  that  of  even  the 
ordinary  untrained  intelligence.  These  two  works  were,  in  1809,  in  the 
collection  of  M.  Grand-Pre,  and  were  then  valued  at  40,000  francs  ; 
what  their  present  value  is,  Christie's  alone  only  knows.  They  were 
brought  to  this  country  by  M.  de  la  Hannte,  from  whom  Earl  Grosvenor 
purchased  them,  in  1820.  In  this  room  also  hangs  a  very  important 
example  of  a  painter  whom  it  is  less  the  fashion  to  admire  nowadays  than 
it  was  formerly — Murillo  ;  this  particular  work  is  known  as  "  Laban  seek- 
ing his  Household  Gods  in  Jacob's  Tent "  ;  and  as  was  not  unusual  with 
the  earlier  painters,  the  subject  is  treated  as  a  scene  of  contemporary  life. 
A  frofos  of  this  work,  it  is  interesting  to  know  that  Murillo  originally 
projected  a  series  of  subjects  from  the  life  of  David,  and  desired  Ignatio 
Iriarte  of  Seville  to  execute  the  backgrounds  ;  he  wished  Iriarte  to 
first  paint  the  landscapes,  to  which  he  was  to  add  the  figures  ;  but 
Iriarte  wanted  the  process  reversed  ;  so,  in  order  to  get  out  of  the  impasse, 
Murillo  did  the  whole  himself,  taking  the  subject  of  Laban  instead  of  that 
originally  intended.  The  work  was  successively  in  the  Santiago,  and 
Coesveldt  collections,  from  the  latter  of  which  it  passed  into  that  of  the 
Marquess  of  Villamanrique.  One  authority,  however,  states  that  it  was 
sold  by  the  Marquis  of  Santiago  to  Mr.  Wallis,  and  passed  from  him, 
through  Mr.  Buchanan,  to  Lord  Grosvenor  ;  while  there  is  also  a  tradi- 
tion that  when  the  French  entered  Madrid,  in  1808,  it  was  selected,  with 
other  works  of  art,  by  General  Sebastiani,  as  part  of  the  booty  exacted. 

Next  to  this  fine  work  is  a  "  Holy  Family "  by  Ludovico  Caracci, 
painted  with  a  depth  of  tone  and  richness  of  colouring  which  is  very 
unusual  with  this  painter.  This  work,  together  with  "  A  Young  Faun  in 
a  Landscape,"  by  Salvator  Rosa,  which  the  first  Marquis  of  Westminster 
purchased,  exhausts  the  pictures  other  than  those  by  Dutch  and  Flemish 
masters  in  this  room.  In  addition  to  the  Rembrandts,  David  Teniers 
is  represented  by  two  characteristic  works  ;  one,  "  A  Family  saying 
Grace  "  ;  the  other,  "  Boers  Drinking  "  ;  and  there  is  a  Van  Huysum 
almost,  if  not  quite,  equal  to  the  superb  example  of  this  painter  in  the 
National  Gallery.  This  particular  masterpiece  was  once  in  the  Braam- 
kemp  and  Geldermeester  Galleries,  from  the  latter  of  which  it  was  pur- 
chased by  Sir  Francis  Baring,  about  1800.  It  was  from  the  Baring 
collection  that  it  was  bought  by  George  IV.  ;  the  King,  however,  sub- 
sequently sold  it  to  Mr.  Watson  Taylor,  at  the  sale  of  whose  gallery,  in 
1822,  it  was  purchased  by  Lord  Grosvenor.     By  Rubens  is  a  small  land- 


GROSVENOR    HOUSE  267 

scape  most  minutely  finished,  which,  according  to  Young,  was  painted 
before  the  artist  went  to  Italy,  and  when  he  must  have  been  about 
eighteen  or  twenty.  Waagen  very  properly  calls  this  beautiful  little 
production  "  a  real  gem."  It  was  one  of  the  pictures  originally  collected 
by  Lord  Grosvenor,  before  he  purchased  the  Agar-Ellis  gallery,  as  was 
the  Cuyp,  representing  a  group  of  sheep  in  a  pen,  which  hangs  near  it. 

Among  the  other  works  here,  special  attention  is  demanded  by 
Wouvermanns's  "  Horse  Fair,"  a  most  exquisite  and  spirited  work,  which 
is  signed  but  not  dated,  and  which  was  one  of  the  Agar-Ellis  pictures  ; 
the  same  epithets  may  well  be  applied  to  the  "  Farm  House  with  Cattle 
and  Figures,"  by  Adrian  Van  der  Velde,  dated  1658,  the  year  in  which 
the  painter,  who  was  then  but  nineteen,  painted  the  similar  picture  which 
is  now  in  the  Peel  collection.  The  work  at  Grosvenor  House  was  origin- 
ally in  the  galleries  of  M.  Lorimer,  the  Due  de  Choiseul,  and  the  Prince 
de  Conti,  and  was  later  among  the  Agar-EUis  pictures,  which  is  a  pedigree 
of  which  any  work  of  art  might  be  proud. 

I  have  mentioned  one  Cuyp,  which  I  confess  does  not  move  me  to 
enthusiasm — it  is  so  hard  and  dry  ;  but  another,  a  landscape  with  figures 
and  sheep,  is  of  very  different  quality,  being  warm  and  deep  in  tone, 
and  in  every  way  worthy  of  its  painter's  great  reputation.  There  is  here, 
too,  a  "  View  of  Nimwegen,"  by  Van  Goyen,  of  characteristically  thin 
impasto,  signed  and  dated  1645  ;  and  a  sketch  by  Rubens  for  his  large 
picture  of  the  "  Conversion  of  St.  Paul ;  "  as  well  as  a  remarkably 
fine  and  very  large  landscape  by  Nicholas  Berghem,  dated  1656,  once 
in  the  Agar-Ellis  collection. 

The  Saloon,  in  which  hang  some  of  the  most  important  of  the  many 
precious  works  in  Grosvenor  House,  communicates  with  the  Dining  Room, 
and  as  that  apartment  does,  looks  out  upon  the  ample  gardens.  The 
ceiling  of  this  fine  room  is  decorated  in  the  Italian  style,  in  neutral  tints, 
and  is  so  carefully  subdued  as  not  to  clash  with  the  pictures  that  hang 
on  the  walls ;  which  flafonds  over-loaded  with  bright  decorative  work  are 
frequently  apt  to  do.  There  is  in  this  room  a  very  beautiful  mantel- 
piece of  Carrara  marble,  with  plaques  of  red  marble  introduced,  and 
about  the  room  are  some  magnificent  examples  of  French  furniture  of 
the  Louis  Quatorze  period,  in  the  shape  of  cabinets,  loaded  with  rare 
and  costly  porcelain.  But  I  am  chiefly  concerned  with  the  pictures,  of 
which  there  are  no  less  than  thirty-eight  by  masters  of  the  Italian,  French, 
Spanish,  Dutch,  and  Flemish  schools  ;  and  although  this  collocation  of 
the  poetic  spiritualities  of  the  Italians  with  the  more  material  expositions 
of  the  Dutch  and  Flemish  masters  is  perhaps  to  be  regretted,  at  the  same 


268     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

time  it  is  a  significant  fact  that  when  a  work,  of  whatever  school  it  be, 
is  a  masterpiece,  these  seemingly  opposite  characteristics  assimilate  in  a 
remarkable  manner. 

Of  the  Italians,  Guilio  Romano  ;  Andrea  del  Sarto,  "  the  faultless 
painter "  ;  Benvenuto  Tisio,  commonly  called  Garofalo  ;  Tiarini ; 
Albano  ;  Paul  Veronese  ;  MazzuoH,  called  Parmigiano  ;  Biscaino,  and 
Zampieri,  better  known  as  Domenichino,  are  among  those  here  repre- 
sented ;  and  if  there  be  some  doubt  about  the  authenticity  of  Tisio's 
work,  there  should  be  none  about  that  by  Guilio  Romano  of  "  St.  Luke 
painting  the  Virgin,"  which  was  purchased  in  Italy  for  the  first  Earl 
Grosvenor,  by  Mr.  Dalton,  in  1763,  for  Waagen  expressly  states  his  belief 
as  to  its  genuineness,  after  having  examined  a  number  of  other  undoubted 
works  by  this  painter  ;  but  for  long  it  was  attributed  to  one  of  Raphael's 
pupils,  and  Mrs.  Jameson,  quoting  Passavant  as  additional  authority, 
also  attributes  this  genesis  to  the  panel. 

There  is,  too,  in  this  room,  another  picture  by  Guilio  Romano,  of 
"  St.  John  the  Baptist  seated  in  the  Wilderness,"  which  was  formerly  in 
the  Agar-Ellis  collection,  and  is  a  copy  of  Raphael's  well-known  work  in 
the  Tribune  at  Florence.  Andrea  del  Sarto  is  represented  by  three  works ; 
one,  curiously  modern  in  treatment,  is  a  portrait  of  the  Contessina  Mattel, 
with  a  white  ruff  round  her  neck  and  a  veil  on  her  head  ;  it  was  this 
portrait  that  Mrs.  Jameson  had  in  mind  when  she  wrote  :  "  We  read  a  whole 
life  in  her  settled,  thoughtful  brow,  in  her  deep  melancholy  eye,  and  in 
the  compressed  resigned  expression  of  the  mouth."  Another  Del  Sarto  is  a 
head  of  the  infant  St.  John,  on  panel,  which  was  one  of  Lord  Grosvenor's 
original  collection,  and  is  not  unlike  the  celebrated  "  Laughing  Boy  "  by  Da 
Vinci,  once  one  of  the  gems  of  Fonthill ;  the  third  picture  by  the  master 
forming  a  companion  to  this  work,  is  a  head  of  the  Infant  Saviour,  and 
was  probably  bought  together  with  the  St.  John. 

Benvenuto  Tisio  is  represented  by  a  Riposo,^  although  this  work  was 
at  one  time  attributed  to  Raphael.  There  seems  to  be  always  a  certain 
amount  of  doubt  as  to  the  productions  of  this  painter,  whose  pictures 
are  rarely  found  outside  Italy ;  but  there  should  not  be,  because  he  gained 
his  nickname  of  Garofolo  from  his  custom  of  painting  a  gilly-flower  in 
the  corner  of  his  pictures,  which  should  be  a  certain  kind  of  hall-mark, 
except,  of  course,  in  the  case  of  obvious  copies  of  his  work. 

By  Tiarini,  a  comparatively  little  known  artist,  although  Ludovico 
Caracci  said  of  his  picture  of  "  St.  Domenico  raising  a  Dead  Person  to  Life," 
that  it  was  superior  to  most  productions  of  the  age,  is  a  small  delicately 

'  The  frame  of  this  picture  is  beautifully  carved,  and  is  said  to  be  the  work  of  the  monks 
to  whom  it  originally  belonged.     Note  in  the  Private  Catalogue, 


GROSVENOR    HOUSE  269 

painted  picture  on  copper,  representing  "  The  Marriage  of  St.  Catherine  "  ; 
while  by  Albano  is  a  "  Virgin  and  Child,"  also  on  copper,  probably  painted 
from  his  own  wife  and  child,  whom  he  delighted  to  use  as  models  for  his 
pictures ;  and  an  "Annunciation,"  by  Paul  Veronese.  Parmigiano  is 
responsible  for  four  works,  two  of  which  are  small  full-length  figures  on  panel 
of  St.  Peter  and  St.  Paul,  originally  inserted  in  the  door  of  a  room  ;  and 
there  is  a  small  finished  sketch  on  copper  for  the  well-known  "  Vision 
of  St.  Jerome  "  in  the  National  Gallery  ;  while  the  fourth  is  "  The 
Marriage  of  St.  Catherine,"  also  on  copper,  which  was  formerly  in  the 
Borghese  Palace,  whence  it  was  brought  to  England  by  Mr.  Ottley,  and 
sold  to  Mr.  Morland  from  whom  Lord  Grosvenor  purchased  it. 

Biscaino,  whose  works  are  few  and  little  known,  for  he  died  of  the 
plague  when  only  twenty-five,  gives  us  a  "  Holy  Family  "  in  a  landscape, 
although  his  forte  was  historical  subjects  ;  the  picture  here  is  one  of  the 
few  that  hang  in  a  somewhat  indifferent  light,  but  that  unquestionable 
authority  thought  great  things  of  it  is  proved  by  Young's  assertion  that 
Sir  Joshua  Reynolds  once  offered  no  less  than  X^ooo  for  it ;  and  lastly, 
before  we  turn  to  other  schools,  there  is  a  "  St.  Agnes,"  on  copper,  by 
Domenichino,  which  was  one  of  the  pictures  purchased  for  Lord  Grosvenor 
in  Italy  by  Mr.  Dalton. 

Of  the  two  Murillos  which  hang  in  this  room,  one  represents  "  St. 
John  and  the  Lamb,"  a  subject  the  painter  never  seemed  tired  of  repro- 
ducing ;  the  other,  a  perfect  little  work,  shows  us  the  Infant  Saviour 
asleep.  The  former  was  once  in  the  collection  of  Mr.  Andrew  Wilson, 
whence  it  was  purchased  by  Lord  Grosvenor  about  1810;  while  the 
latter  was  one  of  the  Agar-Ellis  pictures. 

There  are  no  less  than  four  Nicholas  Poussins  in  the  Saloon,  one  being 
a  finished  study  for  one  of  the  groups  in  the  well-known  picture  of 
"  Moses  Striking  the  Rock  "  at  Bridgewater  House  ;  this  portion  of  the 
work  being  that  in  which  the  mother  is  shown,  giving  drink  to  one  of  her 
children,  while  the  other  looks  up  as  if  in  anticipation  of  its  share,  and, 
behind,  the  father  is  clasping  his  hands  in  gratitude.  The  second  is  a 
"  Holy  Family  with  Angels,"  which  was  purchased  at  the  sale  of  Lord 
Lansdowne's  gallery,  in  1806,  a  most  rich  and  beautiful  work,  represent- 
ing Tivoli,  with  the  Temple  of  the  Sybil,  and  originally  came  from  Lord 
Waldegrave's  collection  in  1763,  at  which  time  Lord  Ashburnham  bought 
the  companion  picture  by  Gaspar  Poussin.  The  third  tells  the  story  of 
Areas  and  Calisto,  and  came  from  the  Agar-Ellis  collection  ;  while  the 
fourth,  "  Infants  at  Play,"  is  such  a  lovely  little  work  that  one  can  quite 
believe  the  story  that  Beckford  offered  Agar-Ellis  1 000  guineas  for  it  ; 
it  has  been  engraved  several  times. 


2  70    THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

There  are  also  here  three  superlatively  fine  Claudes  ;  one  a  "  Riposo," 
on  copper  ;  another  a  landscape  known,  as  I  have  before  stated,  with 
its  companion  which  hangs  in  the  Dining  Room,  as  "  The  Decline  and 
Fall  of  the  Roman  Empire  "  ;  and  showing  the  ruins  of  Rome  in  the 
middle  distance  ;    and  the  third  another  fine  landscape. 

The  productions  of  the  Dutch  and  Flemish  masters  that  hang  in  the 
Saloon  are  of  the  highest  merit.  It  is  hopeless  to  say  anything  adequate 
about  their  beauty,  but  I  must  at  least  say  a  word.  First,  then,  is  the 
"  River  Scene,"  by  Cuyp,  in  which  we  get  a  view  of  Dort  in  the  evening, 
illumined  by  that  warm  and  transparent  colouring  which  is  hardly  sur- 
passed by  the  two  great  pictures  by  the  master  at  Dorchester  House 
and  Bridgewater  House  respectively.  Then  there  is  a  wonderful  Gerard 
Dou,  of  a  mother  nursing  her  child,  painted  with  all  the  minuteness  of 
Metsu,  and  at  the  same  time,  with  a  breadth  of  treatment  which  Metsu 
was  hardly  capable  of  attaining. 

The  example  here  of  Paul  Potter's  art  shows  us  a  landscape  with 
dairy  farm  and  figures,  seen  in  the  light  of  a  warm  summer  afternoon. 
This  beautiful  work  was  painted  for  the  artist's  patron,  Heer  van  SHnge- 
landt,  of  Dordrecht.  When  his  collection  was  dispersed,  in  1785,  it  was 
sold  for  ;^750  ;  later,  at  the  sale  of  the  Tolozan  collection,  it  fetched 
^1082;  then  Mr.  Crawford  of  Rotterdam  acquired  it  for  ^1350;  but 
subsequently  the  Marquis  of  Westminster  gave  only  ;^iooo  for  it.  To- 
day it  is  probably  worth  six  or  seven  times  that  amount.  The  land- 
scape is  said  to  represent  the  country  between  the  Hague  and  Geestburg, 
and  the  chateau  in  the  distance  is  that  of  Binkhorst,  which  is  still 
standing.^ 

Notwithstanding  the  beauty  and  interest  of  many  of  the  pictures  in 
the  Saloon,  I  think  the  gem  of  this  room  must  be  allowed  to  be  "  The 
Salutation,"  by  Rembrandt,  which  shows  "  St.  Elizabeth  receiving 
the  Virgin."  It  was  painted  when  the  artist  was  thirty-four,  and  is 
dated  1640.  Waagen  considers  it  "  so  masterly  in  composition,  in 
handling,  lighting,  and  glow  of  chiaroscuro,  as  to  be  nearly  on  a  par 
with  '  The  Woman  taken  in  Adultery,'  in  the  National  Gallery  "  ;  and 
this  high  praise  has  been  confirmed  by  other  critics  ;  while  M.  Michel, 
in  his  life  of  Rembrandt,  gives  a  detailed  description  of  the  work, 
which,  however,  I  do  not  repeat,  as,  except  from  a  technical  point  of 
view,  such  descriptions  are,  it  seems  to  me,  not  very  satisfactory,  and, 
in  a  book  of  this  kind,  would  be  merely  tiresome.  The  picture,  which, 
by-the-bye,  like  that  of  the  work  in  the  National  Gallery  to  which  it 
has  been  compared,  has  an  oval  top,  formerly  belonged  to  the  King  of 

'  Cundall  in  his  Life  of  Potter. 


GROSVENOR   HOUSE  271 

Sardinia,  and  was  brought  to  this  country,  in  1812,  by  M.  Erard,  from 
whom  the  second  Earl  Grosvenor  purchased  it. 

There  is  also,  in  this  room,  an  exceedingly  fine  Hobbema,  which 
merits  long  and  close  attention  ;  it  is  a  forest  scene,  and  the  figures  intro- 
duced are  by  Lingelbach.  This  beautiful  work  was  formerly  in  the 
possession  of  M.  Fizian  of  Amsterdam,  from  whom  Mr.  Agar-Ellis  pur- 
chased it  ;   it  has  been  engraved  by  Mason. 

I  must  make  an  end  ;  but  before  I  do  so,  let  me  draw  attention  to 
"  The  Virgin  and  Child,"  by  Adrian  Van  der  Werff,  which  fascinating 
work  was  painted  for  the  master's  patron,  the  Elector  Palatine,  who  gave 
it  to  Cardinal  Ottoboni,  from  whose  family  it  passed  into  the  Agar-Ellis 
gallery  ;  and  also  to  the  consummate  "  Dismissal  of  Hagar,"  by  Rubens, 
in  which  picture  the  expression  and  attitude  of  Sarah  struck  Mrs. 
Siddons  so  forcibly  that  she  deemed  them  worthy  of  her  admiration 
and  study.^ 

The  Gallery,  with  the  Rubens  Room  at  the  end,  occupies  the  newer 
portion  of  Grosvenor  House,  which  I  spoke  of  earlier  in  this  chapter. 
It  is  a  truly  magnificent  apartment,  with  an  extraordinarily  fine  and 
massive  ceiling  divided  into  square  compartments,  with  heavily  gilded 
cornices  and  a  painted  frieze  representing  the  arts.  The  great  doors 
are  of  mahogany  picked  out  in  gold,  and  there  is  a  white  marble  mantel- 
piece of  immense  proportions  and  most  beautiful  design.  In  this  apart- 
ment stand  marble  busts  of  the  late  Duke  and  Duchess  of  Westminster,  and 
Lord  Ronald  Gower's  statue  of  Marie  Antoinette  on  her  way  to  execution. 
Here  is  a  table  of  lapis  lazuli  mounted  in  ormolu  ;  there  a  wonderful  clock 
in  tortoise-shell  inlaid  with  mother-of-pearl  and  decorated  with  ormolu 
figures  and  porcelain  columns  ;  in  another  part  of  the  room  is  one  of  those 
Italian  cabinets  for  which  all  the  known  semi-precious  stones  of  the 
world  seem  to  have  been  gathered  together,  and  forming  a  miniature 
temple.  Bronze  figures  of  women  uphold  ormolu  flowers  to  cast  light 
upon  the  chamber,  and  columns  of  ebony,  enriched  with  festoons  and 
arabesques  in  ormolu,  bear  on  their  sides  the  ducal  crest  and  coronet, 
and  are  surmounted  by  bronze  figures  of  cupids  supporting  on  their  heads 
covered  baskets  of  richly  chased  ormolu.  Indeed  nothing  that  wealth  can 
suggest  or  taste  and  ingenuity  create,  seems  wanting  in  this  magnificent 
apartment. 

Like  all  the  principal  rooms  at  Grosvenor  House,  the  Gallery  is  filled 
with  fine  pictures  ;  and  if  there  is  some  doubt  attached  to  the  authen- 
ticity of  one  or  two  of  the  canvases  here,  they  are  far  outbalanced  by  the 
beauty  and  genuineness  of  the  greater  part  of  the  pictures  in  this  apart- 
'  See  a  note  in  the  Private  Catalogue. 


272     THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

ment.  The  Raphael — a  "  Holy  Family,"  from  the  Agar-Ellis  collection- 
is  a  copy,  'tis  said  the  best  extant,  of  the  original  which  has  been  lost, 
and  which  had  some  affinity  to  the  "  Vierge  au  Linge  "  in  the  Louvre  ; 
the  authenticity  of  Giovanni  Bellini's  "  Madonna  and  Child  with  four 
Saints,"  has  also  been  questioned,  but  it  has  an  intrinsic  interest,  in  that 
it  once  belonged  to  F6n61on,  who  also  owned  "  The  Circumcision," 
by  the  same  master,  which  hangs  close  by  ;  and  there  is  little  doubt 
that  the  riding  school  picture,  with  the  Infante  Don  Balthazar,  is  only 
partially  the  work  of  Velasquez,  the  better  part  being  probably  from 
the  hand  of  his  pupil  Mazo  ;  but  the  so-called  portrait  of  Rubens  and 
Elizabeth  Brant  is  undoubtedly  from  the  hand  of  that  great  master.  It 
represents  Pausias  and  Glycera,  and  was  once  supposed  to  indicate  the  artist 
and  his  wife  in  this  classic  guise.  The  flowers  surrounding  the  figures  are 
by  Velvet  Breughal,  who  so  often  collaborated  with  Rubens  in  this  way. 

Besides  these  there  are  nearly  a  score  of  pictures  in  the  Gallery,  and  of 
some  of  the  most  important  I  must  say  a  few  words.  In  the  first  place 
there  is  a  remarkable  Rembrandt,  representing  a  landscape  with  men  draw- 
ing a  net  from  the  river,  which  figures  are  said  to  have  been  introduced 
by  Teniers,  to  whom  the  picture  once  belonged.  Indeed  Waagen  casts 
some  doubt  on  Rembrandt  having  had  a  hand  in  the  composition  at  all, 
rather  attributing  it  to  his  school,  of  which  it  is  certainly,  if  this  assump- 
tion be  correct,  a  very  fine  example.  Lord  Grosvenor  bought  the  work 
from  M.  de  la  Hannte,  in  1820. 

Close  to  this  hangs  a  picture  about  which  no  doubt  is  possible  : 
Turner's  "  Conway  Castle,"  which  the  late  Duke  of  Westminster  pur- 
chased for  2800  guineas,  from  the  Wynn-Ellis  collection  in  1876,  at  the  sale 
in  which  was  sold  the  famous  "  Duchess  of  Devonshire,"  by  Gainsborough.  ^ 

Another  beautiful  landscape  is  by  Gaspar  Poussin,  one  of  the  Agar- 
Ellis  pictures ;  and  still  another,  attributed  to  Titian,  although  it  has 
also  been  assigned,  by  Waagen,  to  Gaspar  Po  issin  or  one  of  his  school. 
The  latter  work  was  purchased  in  Italy,  about  the  year  1783,  by  Gavin 
Hamilton,  from  whom  Mr.  Agar-Ellis  acquired  it.  There  are  two  other 
works  by  Titian  in  the  Gallery  ;  the  first  being  "  The  Woman  taken  in 
Adultery,"  which,  according  to  Young,  was  brought  from  the  Barberini 
Palace  by  a  French  officer,  and  afterwards  came  into  the  possession  of 
M.  de  la  Hannte,  from  whom  Lord  Grosvenor  purchased  it  ;  the  other, 
a  reflica  of  the  famous  canvas  in  the  Dresden  Gallery,  representing 
"  Christ  and  the  Tribute  Money." 

From  the  Calonne  Gallery  came  the  "  Holy  Family  "  by  Paul  Veronese  ; 
while  the  landscape  by  Philip  de  Koningh  is  a  beautiful  example  of  this 
master's  methods  on  an  unusually  large  scale. 


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274     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Rubens  with  Vandyck's  added  grace  ;  and  the  portrait  of  the  painter 
and  his  wife  by  Teniers  the  younger.  The  former  came  from  the  Agar- 
Ellis  collection,  and  both  Waagen  and  Mrs.  Jameson  draw  attention  to 
the  dignity  and  poetical  sentiment  of  the  work  ;  while  from  its  warmth 
of  tone  and  transparency  of  colouring  it  is  conjectured  that  the  artist 
painted  it  after  his  return  from  Italy  when  the  influence  of  the  sunny 
south  was  fresh  in  his  receptive  mind.  The  latter  work  was  executed  in 
1649,  as  is  proved  by  the  inscription  on  it  ;  it  represents  the  painter  and 
his  wife,  Anne  Breughal  (daughter  of  Velvet  Breughal,  and  an  adopted 
daughter  of  Rubens),  in  conversation  with  their  old  gardener,  close  by 
the  cottage  of  the  latter,  while  Teniers's  chateau  is  seen  in  the  distance. 
The  picture  was  originally  in  the  collection  of  the  Chevalier  Verhulst, 
whence  it  passed,  in  1779,  into  the  hands  of  M.  Le  Brun,  for  the  sum  of 
^^85.  From  M.  Le  Brun  it  was  bought  by  Lord  Lansdowne  for  £i()2  ; 
and  subsequently  Lord  Grosvenor  became  its  possessor  at  the  greatly 
enhanced,  but  as  it  seems  now,  very  small,  price  of  £^^6. 

In  this  room  is  also  to  be  specially  noted  a  picture  of  two  angels,  by 
Rubens,  probably  studies  for  a  larger  work ;  and  a  "  Triumph  of  Venus," 
by  Albano,  most  beautiful  and  almost  Titian-like  in  warmth  and  depth  of 
colouring. 

Although  a  number  of  pictures  hang  in  other  parts  of  Grosvenor  House, 
and  particularly  in  the  Corridor,  where  among  others  is  a  luminous  and 
excellent  view  of  the  seashore  on  the  Normandy  coast,  by  that  fine  and 
too  short-lived  painter  Bonington,  these  need  no  specific  notice  ;  but 
before  we  leave  this  palace  of  art,  a  word  must  be  said  about  some  of 
the  paintings  hanging  in  the  Ante-Drawing  Room.  Here,  for  example, 
is  a  fine  landscape  by  Gaspar  Poussin,  and  a  study  of  flowers  by  that 
scarce  master,  Mignon  ;  while  there  is  a  landscape  with  cattle  by  Karel 
du  Jardin  ;  an  interesting  study  of  a  "  spotted  horse  "  by  Cuyp  ;  and 
a  characteristic  landscape  with  itinerant  musicians  by  Le  Nain.  By 
the  side  of  these  works,  as  if  to  accentuate  the  catholicity  of  taste 
observable  throughout  this  wondrous  collection,  is  what  Mrs.  Jameson 
calls,  and  rightly  calls,  "  a  divine  little  picture,"  by  Fra  Bartolomeo  ;  * 
a  landscape  with  the  meeting  of  David  and  Abigail,  by  Domenichino  ; 
and  a  "  Virgin  and  Child  "  by  Pietro  da  Cortona  ;  and  just  as  one  thinks 
one  has  seen  all,  the  eye  is  attracted  by  the  warmth  of  the  landscape 
which  Jan  Both  painted  and  in  which  the  figures  were  put  in  by  his 
brother  Andrew. 

'  It  will  be  remembered  that  Baccio  della  Porta,  as  he  was  properly  named,  became  a 
Dominican  in  1500,  being  deeply  afflicted  by  the  death  of  his  friend  Savonarola. 


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276     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

there  was  also  another  library  on  the  ground  floor,  and  still  one  more 
on  the  first  floor,  out  of  which  the  Ante-Room,  with  its  circular  end, 
was  reached.^ 

Lord  Shelburne's  bedroom  was  on  the  ground  floor,  where  in  fact 
the  present  study  is,  while  his  dressing-room  was,  curiously  enough,  on 
the  first  floor,  and  on  the  opposite  side  of  the  house. 

The  mansion  was  erected  for  Lord  Bute  about  the  middle  of  the 
eighteenth  century,  and,  as  happened  when  Clarendon  built  his  splendid 
residence  in  Piccadilly  a  century  earlier,  the  populace  chose  to  see 
in  this  magnificent  pile  the  results  of  peculation  and  political  chicanery. 
Lord  Bute  was  always  an  unpopular  minister,  perhaps  the  most 
unpopular  of  those  who  have  presided  over  the  destinies  of  this  country, 
and  whatever  he  did  was  immediately  construed  into  something  inimical 
to  the  good  of  the  people,  and  whatever  personal  success  he  attained  as 
the  result  of  jobbery.  Reasons  were  not  wanting,  as  when  are  they  if 
required  to  pull  to  shreds  an  already  tottering  reputation  ?  On 
February  10,  1763,  the  Peace  of  Paris  had  been  signed,  and  although 
by  that  treaty  France,  then  our  traditional  enemy,  ceded  to  Great 
Britain,  Canada,  Prince  Edward  Island,  Cape  Breton  (about  which  the 
Duke  of  Newcastle  was  so  notoriously  ignorant  according  to  the  well- 
known  anecdote).  Mobile,  and  all  the  territory  east  of  the  Mississippi, 
Dominica,  Tobago,  St.  Vincent,  and  Grenada,  and  received  in  return 
little,  if  we  except  St.  Lucia,  but  those  islands  which  perpetual  earth- 
quakes have  made  at  best  uncertain  possessions,  yet  this  country  was  not 
satisfied,  simply,  it  may  be  conjectured,  because  the  minister  in  power 
was  the  unpopular  Lord  Bute  ;  and  it  was  the  fashion  to  attribute  the 
money  spent  on  building  Lansdowne  House,  which  was  commenced  soon 
afterwards,  to  the  Prime  Minister's  so-called  betrayal  of  his  country.  Lord 
Bute,  however,  never  occupied  the  house,  for,  in  1765,  he  sold  it,  as  it  then 
stood,  still  unfinished,  to  the  Earl  of  Shelburne,  for  less  than  it  is  supposed 
to  have  then  already  cost  him  ;  the  price  he  received  being  ^22,500. 
By  a  curious  coincidence,  its  new  owner  was  nearly  as  unpopular  as  its 
old,  and  when  Lord  Shelburne  became  responsible  for  the  Peace  of 
Versailles,  in  1783,  it  was  scandalously  asserted  that,  whereas  the  mansion 
had  been  built  by  one  peace,  it  was  paid  for  by  another.  The  accusation 
has  in  it  a  far  too  rhetorical  ring  to  convey  much  confidence  in  its  accuracy, 
and  is  somewhat  on  a  par  with  Burke's  indecent  invective  against  Shel- 
burne, when  he  attributed  his  not  acting  as  a  Cataline  or  a  Borgia  simply 

'  It  is  interesting  to  see  that  the  powdering  closets  attached  to  Lord  Shelburne's  dressing- 
room  and  to  that  of  Lady  Shelburne,  are  much  larger  than  the  servants'  rooms  adjoining, 
which  appear  to  be  mere  cupboards. 


LANSDOWNE   HOUSE  277 

to  his  want  of  the  necessary  understanding ;  which,  by-the-bye,  reminds 
us  so  forcibly  of  a  celebrated  passage  in  one  of  Junius's  ^  letters  directed 
against  the  Duke  of  Grafton,  as  to  give  colour  to  the  theory  advanced 
by  some,  that  those  letters  were  the  production  of  Burke  himself. 

Lord  Shelburne  appears  to  have  been  on  the  look-out  for  a  site  on 
which  to  build  a  residence  for  some  time  previous  to  his  purchase  of  Lord 
Bute's  unfinished  home,  and  that  he  employed  one  of  the  Adam  brothers 
to  find  a  suitable  spot  is  evidenced  by  a  letter  of  Charles  James  Fox, 
dated  June  29,  1761,  and  addressed  to  Lord  Shelburne,  in  the  course 
of  which  he  says  :  "  I  see  you  have  ordered  Mr.  Adam  to  look  out  for 
space  to  build  an  Hotel  upon  "  ;  and  he  proceeds  to  mention,  as  a  likely 
situation,  the  very  site  on  which  Lord  Bute  built  the  house  which  Lord 
Shelburne  was  eventually  to  purchase,  describing  it  as  "  a  fine  piece  of 
ground  .  .  .  still  to  be  had,  the  garden  of  which,  or  the  court  before 
which,  may  extend  all  along  the  bottom  of  Devonshire  garden,  though 
no  house  must  be  built  there  ;  the  house  must  be  where  some  old  paltry 
stables  stand  at  the  lower  end  of  Bolton  Row." 

Both  Lord  Leicester  and  Lord  Digby  had  also  been  in  negotiation  for 
the  ground,  but  neither,  for  some  reason,  had  settled  on  it,  and  Lord 
Shelburne's  similar  hesitancy  resulted  in  its  being  snapped  up  by  Lord 
Bute,^  who,  however,  as  we  have  seen,  was  never  destined  to  inhabit  the 
great  house  which  he  commenced  to  build  on  its  site.  Whether  it  was 
that  he  feared  to  intensify  the  extraordinary  animus  against  him  which 
he  had  already  created  in  the  minds  of  the  people,  by  inhabiting  so 
palatial  a  mansion ;  or  whether  it  was  that  the  expenses  attendant  on  it 
threatened  to  make  too  great  an  inroad  on  his  resources,  I  know  not,  but, 
at  any  rate,  he  sold  the  place  to  the  Earl  of  Shelburne. 

Apart  from  the  expense  of  furnishing,  Lord  Shelburne  must  have  laid 
out  a  considerable  sum  in  completing  the  house  and  improving  the 
gardens,  which  latter,  were  those  of  Devonshire  House  not  contiguous, 
would  be  unique  for  so  central  a  position  in  the  West  End. 

In  Lady  Shelburne's  Diary,  several  references  are  made  to  the  new 
possession  ;    but  although  she  expresses  herself  pleased  with  it,  and  terms 

'  A  propos  it  may  not  be  generally  known  that  Lord  Shelburne  was  aware  of  the  identity 
of  Junius,  and  had  promised  to  make  known  the  secret,  but  death  prevented  his  doing  so, 
unhappily  for  the  peace  of  the  world,  which  is  periodically  disturbed  by  discussions  on  this 
tiresome  subject.  He  once  told  Sir  Richard  Phillips  that  "he  knew  Junius,  and  knew  all 
about  the  writing  and  production  of  those  letters,"  and  he  further  affirmed  that  "  Junius  has 
never  yet  been  publicly  named.  None  of  the  parties  ever  guessed  at  as  Junius  was  the  true 
Junius."  But  let  us  remember  Lord  Beaconsfield's  famous  advice  on  this  subject — and  say 
no  more  about  it. 

-  In  1764  he  was  living  in  Albemarle  Street,  and  later,  till  his  death  in  1792,  at  73  South 
Audley  Street.  It  will  be  remembered  that  he  was  Prime  Minister  from  May  1762  to 
April  1763. 


278     THE    PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

it  "  very  noble,"  at  the  same  time,  reading  between  the  hnes,  we  can 
see  that  her  ladyship  would  naturally  enough  have  been  better  content 
to  have  entered  into  possession  of  a  completed  house. 

PoHtically  Lord  Shelburne,  who  was  First  Lord  of  the  Treasury 
from  July  1782  to  February  1783,  was  unpopular  ;  and  the  Peace  for 
which  he  was  responsible  in  the  latter  year  was  a  source  of  much  heart- 
burning among  the  people,  who,  ready  enough  to  mix  private  and  public 
actions,  regarded  it  as  little  less  than  a  money-making  manoeuvre. 
But  Lord  Shelburne  was  not  a  man  of  this  sort ;  and  even  Jeremy 
Bentham  has  recorded  that  "  his  manner  was  very  imposing,  very 
dignified,"  while  Wraxall  adds  that  "  in  his  person,  manners,  and  address, 
the  Earl  wanted  no  external  quahty  to  captivate  or  concihate  mankind." 
This  quotation  from  Wraxall  draws  my  attention  to  a  longer  account 
which  he  has  left  of  Lord  Shelburne,  and  which  I  quote  in  extenso  because 
it  gives  some  indication  as  well  of  the  habitues  of  the  great  house  about 
which  I  am  writing  :  "  No  individual  in  the  Upper  House  attracted  so 
much  national  attention  from  his  accomplishments,  talents,  and  extensive 
information  on  all  subjects  of  foreign  or  domestic  poUcy,  as  the  Earl  of 
Shelburne.  In  the  prime  of  life  and  in  the  full  vigour  of  his  faculties, 
he  displayed  whenever  he  rose  to  speak,  an  intimate  knowledge  of  Europe, 
together  with  such  a  variety  of  matter,  as  proved  him  eminently  qualified 
to  fill  the  highest  situation  .  .  .  nor  was  that  nobleman  less  versed  in 
all  the  principles  of  finance  and  revenue,  than  in  the  other  objects  of 
poUtical  study  that  form  a  statesman.  His  house,  or  more  properly  to 
speak,  his  palace  in  Berkeley  Square,  which  had  formerly  constituted  the 
residence  of  the  Earl  of  Bute,  formed  at  once  the  centre  of  a  consider- 
able party,  as  well  as  the  asylum  of  taste  and  science.  It  is  a  fact,  that 
during  the  latter  years  of  Lord  North's  administration,  he  retained  three 
or  four  clerks  in  constant  pay  and  employment  under  his  own  roof,  who 
were  solely  occupied  in  copying  State  papers  or  accounts.  Every  measure 
of  finance  adopted  by  the  First  Minister  passed,  if  I  may  so  express  myself, 
through  the  alembic  of  Shelburne  House,  where  it  was  examined  and 
severely  discussed.  There,  while  Dunning  and  Barre  met  to  settle  their 
plan  of  action  .  .  .  omniscient  Jackson  furnished  every  species  of  legal 
or  general  knowledge.  Dr.  Price  and  Mr.  Baring  produced  financial  plans, 
or  made  arithmetical  calculations,  meant  to  controvert  and  overturn,  or 
to  expose  those  of  the  First  Lord  of  the  Treasury  :  while  Dr.  Priestly, 
who  lived  under  the  Earl  of  Shelburne's  personal  protection,  prosecuted 
in  the  midst  of  London,  his  philosophical  and  chemical  researches." 

Notwithstanding  his  many  fine  qualities,  his  splendid  hospitality, 
and  his  remarkable  endowments  of  mind,  or  perhaps  on  this  very  account, 


LANSDOWNE    HOUSE  279 

Lord  Shelburne  was  accused  by  his  opponents  of  duplicity  and  insincerity. 
George  III.  is  known  to  have  termed  him  "  the  Jesuit  of  Berkeley 
Square "  ;  and  Junius  called  him  '  Malagrida,'  in  allusion  to  the 
Portuguese  Jesuit  of  that  name  ;  ti  propos  of  which  it  is  said  that  Gold- 
smith once  na'ively  remarked  to  Lord  Shelburne  himself,  that  he  could 
not  understand  why  he  should  be  so  called,  "  for  '  Malagrida  '  was  a  very 
good  sort  of  man." 

Reynolds  has  left  a  portrait  of  Lord  Shelburne,  which  indicates  any- 
thing but  duplicity  or  insincerity ;  and  yet  political  hatred  was  even  able 
to  twist  his  Lordship's  features  into  an  indication  of  falsehood  ;  ^  and 
Hayward  tells  the  following  story  of  Gainsborough  who  also  once  attempted 
to  transfer  these  lineaments  to  canvas.  Lord  Shelburne  complained  that 
the  portrait  was  not  like  him,  and  the  painter  was  forced  to  agree,  and 
asked  that  he  might  be  allowed  to  try  again.  FaiUng  in  this  second 
attempt,  he  is  said  to  have  thrown  down  his  brushes,  exclaiming,  "  D — n 
it,  I  never  could  see  through  varnish,  and  there's  an  end." 

A  modern  historian  says  of  Lord  Shelburne  that  "  most  of  his  political 
ideas  were  in  advance  of  his  time,"  and  this  is,  perhaps,  sufficient  to 
account  for  the  odium  he  had  to  endure  and  the  antagonism  he  constantly 
encountered.  The  populace  is  too  willing  to  judge  eminent  men  from 
its  own  more  restricted  standards,  and  to  see  dishonest  motives  where  none 
exist,  especially  when  it  becomes  the  ignorant  tool  of  interested  political 
wire-pullers.  But  matters  of  such  import  are  not  properly  within  my  ken 
here ;  and  it  is  more  interesting  to  know  that  Lord  Shelburne  extended  the 
hospitality  of  Lansdowne  House  to  Dr.  Priestly,  on  which  fact,  Brougham 
once  asserted  its  chief  claim  to  fame  would  be  based ;  and  that  he  filled 
his  house  with  fine  pictures  and  furniture,  with  a  magnificent  collection 
of  books  and  manuscripts,  and  above  all,  with  that  unrivalled  assemblage 
of  statuary  which  is  still  to  be  found  there. 

In  the  January  of  1771,  the  first  Lady  Shelburne  (n^e  Lady  Sophia 
Carteret,  daughter  of  John,  Earl  Granville)  died,  and  the  bereaved 
husband  set  out  for  Italy  soon  after.  Here  his  attention  was  turned 
to  the  relics  of  ancient  art,  which  in  those  days  were  to  be  had  almost 
for  the  asking,  and  with  the  help  of  Gavin  Hamilton,  the  Scotch  painter 
and  antiquary,  who  remained  in  Italy  after  Lord  Shelburne  had  returned 
home,  he  gradually  acquired  some  of  the  most  notable  pieces.  Hamilton, 
whom  Goethe  eulogises,  was  a  man  full  of  knowledge  and  resource,  and 
above  all,  enthusiasm,  and  on  behalf  of  his  patron  he  superintended 
those  excavations  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Rome  which  yielded  such  a 
rich  harvest  ;   and  for  some  time  he  was  occupied  in  forwarding  to  London 

'  Wraxall. 


2  8o     THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF    LONDON 

the  results  of  his  labours  in  this  direction.  The  many  letters  ^  he  wrote 
to  Lord  Shelburne  sufficiently  show  the  loving  care  he  expended  over 
the  collection  of  these  treasures.  Nor  was  he  less  solicitous  about  their 
housing,  and  he  prepared  the  outlines  of  a  scheme  for  their  reception, 
of  which  the  present  magnificent  Sculpture  Gallery,  formed  by  the 
enlargement  of  Adam's  original  Library,  was  the  key-note. 

The  fine  Library,  consisting  of  priceless  manuscripts  and  printed 
books,  the  beautiful  furniture,  and  valuable  pictures  were  not  long 
destined  to  grace  the  palace  to  which  they  once  gave  an  added  splendour. 
Lord  Shelburne,  who  had  been  created  Marquis  of  Lansdowne  in  1784, 
died  in  1805,  and  was  succeeded  in  the  titles  by  his  son,  John  Henry,  the 
"  tall  personable  man,  rather  regardless  of  his  dress,"  who  soon  after  gave 
directions  for  the  dispersal  of  these  literary  and  artistic  treasures.  Luckily 
for  this  country,  the  British  Museum  purchased  the  famous  Lansdowne 
manuscripts  ;   but  the  books  and  pictures  were  scattered  far  and  wide. 

These  manuscripts,  for  which  Lord  Sandwich,  the  celebrated  "  Jemmy 
Twitcher,"  once  offered  in  exchange,  a  "  wild  beast  "  for  the  menagerie 
which  was  at  that  time  kept  at  Wycombe,  were  only  saved  by  the  merest 
chance  from  destruction,  for  a  bargain  had  been  struck  with  a  cheese- 
monger who  was  to  have  had  the  whole  for  ^10.  When  it  is  remembered 
that  the  documents  include  the  collections  of  Bishop  Kennet,  and  Le 
Neve,  the  heraldic  writer,  and  comprise  many  of  the  State  papers  of  the 
Cecils,  as  well  as  those  of  Sir  Julius  Caesar,  and  a  variety  of  other  papers 
where,  as  has  been  said,  "  the  past  history  of  England  might  be  read  from 
the  time  of  Henry  VL  to  the  time  of  the  Star  Chamber,  and  from  the 
time  of  the  Star  Chamber  to  the  reign  of  George  HL,"  it  will  be 
realised  what  invaluable  records  were  preserved  by  their  subsequent 
purchase  by  the  British  Museum,  with,  by-the-bye,  the  first  sum  of 
money  ever  voted  by  Parliament  for  such  a  purpose." 

The  first  sale  of  pictures  was  conducted  by  Messrs.  Coxe,  Burrell  and 
Foster,  on  the  premises,  on  March  19  and  20,  1806,  and  fifty-six  pictures 
were  disposed  of  ;  on  which  occasion,  inter  alia,  Rubens's  "  Adoration  of 
the  Magi "  realised  800  guineas ;  Claude's  "  St.  Paul  carried  into  Bondage," 
510  guineas  ;  and  "  A  Riposo  "  by  Nicholas  Poussin,  530  guineas.  Four 
years  later  Mr.  Christie  sold  another  portion  which  had  been  removed 
to  his  rooms,  on  May  25  and  26,  when  two  works  by  Salvator  Rosa, 
"  Diogenes  casting  away  his  Golden  Cup,"  and  "  Heraclitus  in  Contem- 
plation," fetched  980  and  950  guineas  respectively.^ 

'  These  have  been  privately  printed  together  with  a  catalogue  of  the  ancient  marbles. 
'  See  Fitzmaurice's  Life  of  Shelburne,  vol.  i.  p.  311. 
'  See  Redford's  Art  Sales,  and  Annals  of  Christie's. 


Photo  J    Russell  6.  Sons. 


THE     SCULPTURE     GALLERY,     LANSDOWNE     HOUSE. 


ll 


I  .1 


I  •■  ,    f: 


2  82     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

specially  designed  to  receive  it,  but  various  pieces  are  now  to  be  found 
in  other  parts  of  the  mansion  ;  such  as  the  Esculapius,  a  fine  relief  over 
the  chimney-piece  of  the  Entrance  Hall,  which  Waagen,  curiously  enough, 
does  not  mention;  and  the  sleeping  figure,  the  last  work  of  Canova, 
having  some  affinity  to  the  celebrated  Hermaphroditus  in  the  Louvre, 
which  is  to-day  placed  in  the  Dining  Room.  This  apartment  is  probably 
Adam's  masterpiece  of  internal  decoration  ;  and  although  purists  may  find 
it  over  elaborate,  and  echo  Walpole's  dictum  about  the  "  harlequinades 
of  Adam,"  yet  it  cannot  be  denied  that,  in  its  particular  style,  it  is  as 
complete  an  example  as  seems  humanly  possible. 

If  the  formation  of  the  collection  of  sculpture  at  Lansdowne  House 
is  due  to  the  first  Marquis,  and  its  preservation  to  the  second ;  the  third, 
and  in  some  respects  the  most  notable  of  these  holders  of  the  title,  is 
responsible  for  the  fine  gallery  of  pictures  which  to-day  hang  on  the 
walls  of  the  mansion. 

Henry  Petty-Fitzmaurice  was  the  half-brother  of  the  second  Marquis, 
being  the  son  of  the  first  by  his  marriage,  en  second  noces,  with 
Lady  Louisa  Fitzpatrick,  daughter  of  John,  Earl  of  Upper-Ossory.  As 
a  political  figure  he  bulks  largely  in  the  history  of  the  reigns  of  William  IV. 
and  Victoria.  Three  times  was  he  Lord  President  of  the  Council,  and 
from  1827  to  1828,  he  was  Secretary  of  State  for  the  Home  Department  ; 
while  from  1855  to  1858,  he  was  a  Cabinet  Minister  without  office,  an  indi- 
cation that  his  party  was  anxious  to  profit  by  his  advice  and  experience, 
even  when  advancing  years  precluded  him  from  taking  an  active  part  in 
any  particular  department.  He  was  indeed,  the  Nestor  of  the  Liberal 
party,  and  the  Princess  Lieven,  writing  in  1827,  speaks  of  his  being  "  the 
most  distinguished  of  the  great  aristocrats  of  this  country,  without  a 
spot  on  his  great  reputation."  But  if  his  political  fame  is  thus  firmly 
based  on  his  integrity  and  other  sterling  qualities,  his  reputation  as  an 
art  patron  and  a  friend  of  literature  is  still  better  known,  and  perhaps 
more  often  recorded  ;  and  it  is  safe  to  say  that  hardly  an  aspirant  to 
artistic  or  literary  fame  who  was  brought  to  his  notice,  or  whom  he 
personally  discovered,  failed  to  benefit  by  his  generous  advice  and  princely 
protection.  When  he  succeeded  to  the  title  only  a  relatively  few  family 
portraits  were  left  to  represent  the  fine  gallery  which  the  first  Marquis  had 
collected,  and  he  at  once  set  to  work  to  fill  the  gap  which  had  been  created 
by  the  sale  of  these  treasures.  In  the  first  place  he  purchased  from  the 
widow  of  his  half-brother  the  famous  marbles  which  had  been  left  her  ; 
and  his  care  then  extended  to  the  formation  of  a  fresh  collection  of 
pictures.  In  this  he  not  only  showed  the  catholicity  of  his  taste  but  also 
the  soundness  of  his  judgment.     Some  collectors  limit  their  acquisitions 


LANSDOWNE   HOUSE  283 

either  wholly  to  the  "  old  masters,"  as  they  are  called,  or  to  the  works 
of  living  painters.  Lord  Lansdowne  combined  the  two,  and  thus  if  he 
commissioned  Leslie  to  depict  one  of  those  delightful  scenes  from  the 
life  of  Sir  Roger  de  Coverley,  he  at  the  same  time  was  ready  to  purchase 
Rembrandt's  portrait  of  himself  ;  and  so  we  find  Calcott  next  to  Caracci, 
and  Frank  Stone  by  the  side  of  Sebastian  del  Piombo.* 

Although  there  is  no  specific  Picture  Gallery  at  Lansdowne  House, 
the  fact  that  the  Reception  Rooms  lead  one  into  another  and  are  all 
more  or  less  filled  with  works  of  art,  gives  the  appearance  of  one,  without 
the  monotony  of  over  large  wall  spaces  ;  and  in  the  Drawing  Room,  the 
Library,  the  Sitting  Room,  the  Ante-Room,  we  still  find  some  of  the  great 
painters  of  the  world  represented. 

The  superb  portrait  of  Count  Federigo  da  Bizzola,  by  Sebastian  del 
Piombo,  purchased  from  the  Ghizzi  family  at  Naples,  hangs  in  the 
Drawing  Room  ;  as  does  Lodovico  Caracci's  "  Christ  on  the  Mount  of 
Olives,"  originally  in  the  Guistiniani  collection,  as  well  as  a  "  Holy  Family  " 
by  the  same  painter.  Antonio  Caracci,  that  rare  master,  is  represented 
by  a  "  Virgin  and  Child,"  of  great  beauty  and  warmth  of  tone  ;  while  Carlo 
Dolce  is  responsible  for  another  rendering  of  the  same  subject. 

There  are  four  or  five  Velasquezs  ;  one  a  portrait  of  himself,  another 
that  of  the  Conde  d'Olivarez,  the  great  Minister  of  Philip  IV.,  both  of 
which  pictures  were  formerly  in  the  possession  of  Godoy,  "  Prince  of 
Peace,"  as  he  was  called  ;  while  two  landscapes  from  the  same  brush 
which  hang  here  were  formerly  in  the  Royal  Palace  at  Madrid  and  were 
brought  from  Spain,  by  Mr.  Bourke,  the  Danish  Minister,  at  the  time 
of  the  French  occupation.  Another  interesting  work  by  the  same  hand 
represents  a  noble  Spanish  child  lying  in  his  cradle ;  and  was  one  of 
those  belonging  to  the  first  Marquis  of  Lansdowne. 

Two  other  works  in  this  room  had  their  provinance  from  the  Borghese 
collection  ;  "  The  Prodigal  Son,"  by  Guercino,  originally  in  the  Colonna 
Gallery  at  Rome,  and  Domenichino's  picture  of  St.  Cecilia,  which  was 
purchased  by  Lucien  Bonaparte,  who  sold  it  to  the  Queen  of  Etruria  ; 
after  which  it  came  into  this  country  with  the  Lucca  collection,  in  1840." 

Murillo  is  represented  by  an  "  Immaculate  Conception,"  a  subject  he  is 
believed  to  have  painted  no  less  than  twenty  times,  of  unusually  full 
colouring.  There  also  formerly  hung  here  a  female  portrait,  by  Rembrandt, 
signed,  and  dated   1642,   which   came   from   Lord  Wharncliffe's  gallery, 

'  On  one  occasion  Lord  Lansdowne  did  refuse  to  become  a  purchaser  ;  it  was  when 
Marshal  Soult  offered  him  his  collection  of  Miirillos — his  spoils  during  the  Peninsular 
Campaign — for  which  he  asked  the  sum  of  ^100,000,  as  Creevy  records. 

-  Mrs.  Jameson. 


284     THE   PRIVATE    PALACES   OF   LONDON 

but  this,  together  with  his  portrait  of  himself,  from  the  Danoot  collec- 
tion at  Brussels,  which  was  purchased  by  Lord  Lansdowne  from  M. 
Nieuwenhuys  for  /[800,  are  here  no  longer  ;  while  the  marvellous  canvas, 
known  as  "  Rembrandt's  Mill,"  is  now  at  Bowood.  Waagen,  when  he 
saw  the  two  former  pictures,  was  enthusiastic  about  their  merits,  even 
going  so  far,  with  regard  to  the  latter,  as  to  state  that  "  among  the 
portraits  which  Rembrandt  has  bequeathed  of  himself  in  his  later  years, 
this  ranks  foremost  for  animated  conception,  broad  and  yet  careful 
treatment." 

Two  portraits  by  Reynolds  hang  in  the  Drawing  Room  ;  of  these, 
"  The  Girl  with  a  Muff,"  a  replica  of  a  former  work,  was  purchased  by 
Lord  Lansdowne  at  the  Thomond  sale  (it  will  be  remembered  that 
Reynolds'  favourite  niece,  Mary  Palmer,  to  whom  he  bequeathed  the 
bulk  of  his  property,  married  the  Marquis  of  Thomond),  in  1 82 1,  for 
265  guineas.  The  other  work  represents  Elizabeth  Drax,  who  became 
the  wife  of  the  fourth  Earl  of  Berkeley,  in  1744,  and  whom  I  find  among 
Sir  Joshua's  sitters  for  October  1759. 

Another  example  of  Reynolds  deserves  a  word  ;  notably  the  portrait 
of  Lady  Ilchester,  first  wife  of  the  second  Earl,  and  her  two  daughters, 
which  was  painted  during  the  spring  of  1779.  One  of  the  children — 
Lady  Louisa  Fox-Strangways — was  their  fourth  daughter,  and  became  the 
wife  of  the  third  Marquis  of  Lansdowne,  in  1808.  This  beautiful  picture 
hangs  in  the  Sitting  Room,  in  company  with  Tintoretto's  portrait  of 
Andrew  Doria,  and  Ostade's  "  Winter  Scene  in  Holland,"  which  Waagen 
calls  "  a  chef  (Tceuvre  in  every  respect." 

In  the  Ante-Room  there  is  a  particularly  interesting  work  by  Eckhardt, 
representing  Sir  Robert  Walpole  and  his  first  wife,  Catherine  Shorter, 
with  Houghton  Hall  in  the  background.  The  dogs  in  the  picture 
were  painted  by  Wotton,  while  the  portraits  of  Sir  Robert  and  Lady 
Walpole  were  copied  by  Eckhardt  from  miniatures  by  Zincke.  Additional 
interest  is  given  to  this  work  by  the  fact  that  it  is  enclosed  in  a  frame 
carved  by  Grinling  Gibbons,  in  which,  among  a  profusion  of  fruit,  flowers, 
cupids  and  birds,  the  arms  of  the  Walpole  family  are  introduced.  The 
picture  originally  belonged  to  Horace  Walpole,  who  fully  describes  it  in 
his  account  of  Strawberry  Hill,  where  it  hung  over  the  chimney-piece 
in  the  Blue  Bed  Chamber.  Near  it  now  hangs  Gonzales  Coques's 
portrait  of  "  An  Architect  and  his  Wife  "  ;  while  two  other  portraits 
deserve  attention  :  one  of  Francis  Horner,  the  politician  and  political 
economist,  by  Raeburn,  and  Lawrence's  well-known  picture  of  the  third 
Marquis  of  Lansdowne. 

One    of    Vandyck's   innumerable   presentments   of    Henrietta    Maria 


LANSDOWNE   HOUSE  285 

is  in  the  Library,  where  may  also  be  seen  no  less  than  four  Reynolds 
portraits — those  of  Kitty  Fisher,  Garrick,  Horace  Walpole,  and  Sterne. 

That  of  Garrick  is  the  famous  one,  so  often  reproduced,  showing  the 
great  actor  looking  straight  at  the  spectator,  with  his  hands  clasped  and 
the  thumbs  placed  together.  It  was  painted  in  1776,  and  is  a  remark- 
able example  of  that  "  momentary  "  quality  which  Northcote  considered 
so  distinguishing  a  characteristic  of  Reynolds'  methods.-'  The  Sterne 
is  equally  well  known,  and  the  wig  slightly  awry  which  is  so  noticeable 
a  feature  in  the  portrait  has  been  accounted  for  by  the  fact  that  "  while 
he  was  sitting,  his  wig  had  continued  to  get  itself  a  little  on  one  side ; 
and  the  painter,  with  that  readiness  in  taking  advantage  of  accident  to 
which  we  owe  so  many  of  the  delightful  novelties  in  his  works,  painted 
it  so."  - 

The  portrait  of  Kitty  Fisher,  with  a  parrot  on  her  hand,  was  probably 
the  one  executed  in  1759  ;  "  that  small  open  mouth  would  have  been 
too  trifling  for  any  other  action  than  that  of  speaking  to  a  parrot,"  is 
Lady  Eastlake's  comment  ;  while  the  presentment  of  Walpole  is  a  replica 
of  that  painted,  I  believe,  in  1756,  and  engraved  by  Merdell.  The 
original  picture  was  formerly  in  the  Marquis  of  Hertford's  collection  ; 
the  one  here  was  executed  for  Mr.  Grosvenor  Bedford,  from  whose  family 
it  was  purchased. 

Besides  these,  we  find  hanging  on  the  walls  of  the  Library,  Pope 
by  Jervas,  and  Flaxman  by  Jackson,  General  Middleton  by  Gainsborough, 
which,  by-the-bye,  was  long  thought  to  be  a  likeness  of  Benjamin  Franklin  ; 
and  a  portrait  of  an  Italian  architect,  once  erroneously  supposed  to 
represent  Sansovino,  who  designed  the  Palazzo  Cornaro  at  Venice,  by 
Gior^ione. 


'&" 


In  noting  these  various  works  I  have,  of  course,  only  mentioned 
a  few  of  the  pictures  in  Lansdowne  House  ;  but  I  have  endeavoured  to 
draw  attention  to  those  which  seemed,  for  a  variety  of  reasons,  best  worth 
notice.  A  complete  catalogue  ^  would  have  embraced  the  names  of  the 
chief  exponents  of  the  Italian,  Dutch,  and  early  English  schools,  as 
well  as  those  of  the  contemporaries  of  the  third  Marquis,  to  whom  he 
was  so  munificent  a  patron,  such  as  Leslie  and  Calcott,  Collins  and 
Wilkie.     Of  the  first  named  we  have  "  Sir  Roger  de  Coverley  going  to 

'  See  Leslie  and  Taylor's  Lt/c  of  Reynolds. 

^  Ibid.  Sterne  sat  in  1760.  The  picture  was  painted  for  Lord  Ossory,  and  came  into 
the  possession  of  Lord  Holland.     It  was  purchased  by  Lord  Lansdowne  for  500  guineas. 

'  The  Private  Catalogue  of  the  pictures  here  and  at  Bowood  has  kindly  been  lent  me  by 
the  Marquis  of  Lansdowne.  In  it  are  recorded  over  350  pictures  ;  some  of  first-rate  importance, 
and  all  having  some  points  of  artistic  or  intrinsic  interest. 


286     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

Church,"  a  subject  he  had  treated  before  for  James  Dunlop,  and  which 
he  repeated  at  the  request  of  his  patron  ;  Calcott  gives  us  a  portrait  of 
Lady  Calcott,  and  a  work  entitled,  "  Shepherd  Boys."  Collins  painted 
three  pictures  for  Lord  Lansdowne — his  "  Birdcatchers,"  in  1814;  "The 
Saviour  in  the  Temple,"  in  1840;  and  two  years  later  the  "  Family  about 
to  leave  their  Native  Shore  " ;  while  Wilkie's  "  Sick  Lady,"  executed  in 
1809,  was  purchased  for  ;^I50,  by  the  Marquis,  who  also  became  the 
possessor  of  a  later  work  ;  "  Monks  at  Confession."  The  same  painter 
executed,  too,  a  portrait  of  Lady  Lansdowne,  a  propos  of  which  Haydon 
writes,  in  his  Diary,  for  September  20,  1808  :  "  Wilkie  breakfasted  with 
me,  on  his  return  from  Lord  Lansdowne's,  a  portrait  of  whose  lady  he  has 
brought  home  which  is  truly  exquisite  ;  I  had  no  idea  of  his  being  capable 
of  so  much  :   it  gives  me  real  pleasure."  ^ 

Just  as  to-day  Lansdowne  House  is  famous  as  a  political  and  social 
centre,  so  in  the  time  of  the  third  Marquis  was  it  the  meeting-place  for 
the  great  and  the  brilliant.  Abraham  Hayward,  who  was  one  of  its 
notable  habitues,  has  left  descriptions  of  the  reunions  here,  and  has 
affirmed  how  "  the  guests  .  .  .  were  so  selected  that  the  host  took  care 
that  all  should  share  in  the  conversation,  and  when  they  were  reassembled 
in  the  Drawing  Room,  he  would  adroitly  coax  them  into  groups,  or 
devote  himself  for  a  minute  or  two  carelessly  and  without  effort  to  the 
most  retiring  or  least  known." 

The  political  history  of  this  period  contains  the  numberless  names 
of  those  who  gathered  here  to  benefit  by  Lord  Lansdowne's  experience 
or  to  seek  his  valued  advice.  It  would  be  tiresome,  if  easily  practicable, 
to  give  them  here ;  but  at  least  some  of  the  literary  notabilities  who  were 
honoured  guests  may  be  mentioned.  Tom  Moore  was,  of  course,  a 
constant  visitor  both  here  and  at  Bowood  ;  and  his  gentle  spirit  will  hardly 
complain  if  I  term  him  the  "  tame  cat  "  of  Lansdowne  House.  His 
Diary  is  full  of  references  to  dinners  and  dances  at  the  '  palace '  in 
Berkeley  Square,  and  we  know  that  he  did  not  disdain  the  pleasure  pro- 
duced by  reading  in  the  next  morning's  paper  that  "  the  Marquis  of 
Lansdowne  entertained  Mr.  Thomas  Moore  and  a  number  of  other 
literary  and  scientific  gentlemen  at  dinner  at  Lansdowne  House  "  !  or  on 
another  occasion  in  being  the  only  plain  "  mister "  among  the  guests 
that  included  royalty  downwards  !  ^ 

Here,  too,  were  to  be  met  Allen,  of  Holland  House  fame ;  Sydney 
Smith,  who  kept  the  table  in  a  roar,  and  his  hardly  less  amusing  brother 
"  Bobus  " — "  short,  apt,  and  pregnant,"  as  Moore  terms  him  ;    Luttrell 

'  Some  of  these  relatively  modern  works  have  now  been  removed  to  Bowood. 
"  See  references  in  his  Diary,  passim. 


LANSDOWNE    HOUSE  287 

and  Fonblanque  ;  Macaulay,  of  whose  "  range  of  knowledge  anything 
may  be  believed  "  ;  Rogers,  with  his  sepulchral  face  and  bitter  tongue  ; 
Hallam,  who,  as  Rogers  once  said,  fought  (in  argument)  with  Macaulay 
over  him,  "  as  if  I  was  a  dead  body  "  ;  Dickens  in  the  reflected  fame 
of  his  earUer  works,  and  Head  with  the  lesser  glory  of  his  more  ephemeral 
"  Bubbles  "  ;  Schlegel  agonising  Rogers  with  his  loud  voice  and  "  un- 
necessary use  of  it,"  and  startling  others  by  his  egotism  ;  and  Madame 
de  Stael,  a  fitting  female  counterpart,  taking  her  "  premeditated  stand," 
in  the  saloon,  in  order  to  attract  attention. 

Montalembert  has  enunciated  his  mots  in  those  rooms  where  Thiers 
has  fallen  asleep  under  the  influence  of  Macaulay's  swelling  periods ; 
Payne  Knight  has  given  voice  to  a  hazardous  joke  about  Canova's  recum- 
bent marble  ;  and  Ticknor  has  met  there,  Lady  Holland,  "  very  gracious 
— or  intending  to  be  so." 

The  list  might  be  almost  inexhaustibly  continued  ;  but  I  think 
sufficient  has  been  said  to  indicate  what  a  number  of  remarkable  men  these 
rooms  have  seen  ;  what  a  wealth  of  great  and  witty  sayings  these  walls 
have  heard  ;  and  what  a  broad  mind  must  have  been  his  who  loved  to 
gather  together  such  diverse  elements  beneath  his  hospitable  roof. 

Politics,  painting,  literature,  and  science  we  have  seen  to  have  occupied 
the  catholic  mind  of  the  third  Marquis  ;  music  also  held  a  place  there, 
and  Dr.  Waagen  records  how  "  the  concerts  given  by  the  Marquis  in 
the  splendid  saloon  offer  a  rare  combination  of  attraction  ;  for,  while 
the  ear  is  beguiled  with  tones  of  the  most  enchanting  music,  the  eye 
rests  with  increased  pleasure  alternately  on  the  admirably  lighted  sculp- 
ture, and  on  the  numerous  specimens  of  English  female  beauty." 

Such,  indeed,  was  the  effect  of  this  "  concord  of  sweet  sounds,"  that 
the  critic  devotes  four  pages  to  a  discussion  on  German  music,  led  to 
it  by  the  esteem  in  which  the  masterpieces  of  this  school  were  held  at 
Lansdowne  House.  This  reminds  me  that  the  first  owner  of  Lansdowne 
House— Lord  Bute — was  also  alive  to  the  influence  of  music,  and  Jekyll 
told  Moore,  on  one  occasion,  that  there  was  once  a  project  for  placing 
an  orchestra  in  an  underground  chamber  from  which  pipes  would  conduct 
the  tuneful  sounds  into  any  other  room  that  might  be  desired.  The 
third  Lord  Lansdowne,  however,  corrected  this  so  far  as  the  orchestra 
was  concerned,  stating  that  it  was  an  organ  that  was  to  produce  the  music, 
but  that  the  pipes  were  actually  discovered,  on  some  alterations  being 
made  to  the  mansion. 

The  diaries  and  memoirs  of  the  period  during  which  Lansdowne 
House  was  a  centre  of  social  and  political  activity,  are  full  of  references 


2  88     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

to  functions  of  various  kinds,  and  the  interesting  people  in  all  ranks 
of  life  who  have  at  one  time  or  another  met  under  this  hospitable 
roof.  One  or  two  examples  may  not  be  found  uninteresting.  Thus 
Ticknor,  who  saw  so  much  during  his  sojourn  in  this  country,  and 
devoured  with  activity  its  great  houses  and  its  ever-surprising  sights, 
notes,  on  March  28,  1838,  being  engaged  to  a  party  here,  "  where  we 
found  a  very  select  party,  made  in  honour  of  the  Duchess  of  Gloucester, 
daughter  of  George  III.  .  .  .  All  the  ministry  were  there  .  .  .  the 
Duke  of  Cambridge,  the  foreign  ministers.  Lord  Jeffrey — just  come 
to  town — Lord  and  Lady  Holland,  the  last  of  whom  is  rarely  seen  any- 
where except  at  home.  .  .  .  Lady  Holland  was  very  gracious,  or  intended 
to  be  so  ;   and  Lord  Holland  was  truly  kind  and  agreeable." 

On  April  2,  Ticknor  was  again  here,  and  has  left,  in  his  Diary,  a 
particularly  interesting  vignette  of  the  occasion  :  "  We  had,"  he  writes, 
"  to  wait  dinner  a  little  for  Lord  Lansdowne,  who,  as  President  of  the 
Council,  had  been  detained  in  the  House  of  Lords,  fighting  with  Brougham, 
whom  he  pronounced  to  be  more  able  and  formidable  than  at  any  previous 
period  of  his  life.  Lord  Lansdowne  seemed  in  excellent  spirits.  Not  so 
Lady  Lansdowne.  As  she  went  into  dinner,  surrounded  by  the  most 
beautiful  monuments  of  the  arts,  and  sat  down  with  Canova's  Venus 
behind  her,  she  complained  to  me,  naturally  and  sincerely,  of  the  weari- 
ness of  a  London  life.  .  .  .  But  the  table  was  brilliant.  Senior  is  always 
agreeable,  but,  by  the  side  of  Sydney  Smith  and  Jeffrey,  of  course  he 
put  in  no  claim  ;  and  I  must  needs  say,  that  when  I  saw  Smith's  free 
good-humour,  and  the  delight  with  which  everybody  listened  to  him,  I 
thought  there  were  but  small  traces  of  the  aristocratic  oppression  of 
which  he  had  so  complained  in  the  morning.  Lord  Jeffrey,  too,  seemed 
to  be  full  of  good  things  and  good  sayings.  .  .  .  Fine  talk  it  certainly 
was,  often  brilliant,  always  enjoyable.  The  subjects  were  Parliament 
and  Brougham ;  the  theatre  and  Macready  ;  reviewing,  a  -profos  of 
which  the  old  reviewers  hit  one  another  hard  ;  the  literature  of  the 
day,  which  was  spoken  of  lightly ;  Prescott's  Ferdinand  and  Isabella, 
which  Lord  Lansdowne  said  he  had  bought  from  its  reputation,  and 
which  Milman  in  his  quiet  way  praised."  And  again  in  another  entry, 
Ticknor  speaks  of  the  large  parties  in  Berkeley  Square,  and  of  the  host  who 
seemed  "  more  amiable  and  agreeable  than  ever,"  and  who  "  enjoys  a  green 
old  age,  surrounded  with  the  respect  of  all,  even  of  those  most  opposed 
to  him  in  politics." 

But  it  is,  of  course,  Moore  who  gives  us  the  most  frequent  peeps 
into  the  vie  intime  of  Lansdowne  House,  and  the  references  in  his  Diary 
are   both   interesting   and  valuable   because   they   tell   us   the   names    of 


LANSDOWNE    HOUSE  289 

many  of  the  most  illustrious  guests  who  were  wont  to  assemble  here. 
Thus  we  read,  on  May  23,  1829:  "Dined  at  Lansdowne  House — 
company,  Baring  and  Lady  Harriet,  the  Carlisles,  the  Lord  Chancellor 
and  Lady  Lyndhurst,  Lord  Dudley,  &c.  Sat  next  to  the  Chancellor, 
and  found  him  very  agreeable."  Again,  on  June  27,  1830:  "  With  Lord 
Lansdowne  again  to  meet  a  large  party,  Lord  Grey,  Brougham,  the 
Carlisles,  the  Hollands,  Sec.  &c.  The  dinner  afterwards  made  some 
noise  in  the  newspapers,  being  represented  foolishly  as  a  reconciliation 
dinner  to  Lord  Grey."  J  propos  of  this  feast,  Moore  notes  the  next 
day  that  "  though  the  dinner  was  not  quite  of  so  prononcS  a  character 
as  the  papers  would  have  it,  there  is  no  doubt  it  made  a  part  of  a  mutual 
movement  towards  a  renewal  of  old  friendship  that  has  taken  place 
between  the  parties."  On  another  occasion  Moore  meets  Lord  Dudley, 
noted  for  his  eccentricities,  among  a  crowd  of  notable  guests  here  ;  as 
the  poet  sat  next  to  him,  he  was  able  more  particularly  to  note  "  his 
mutterings  to  himself  ;  his  fastidious  contemplation  of  what  he  had  on 
his  plate,  occasionally  pushing  about  the  meat  with  his  fingers,  and 
uttering  low-breathed  criticisms  upon  it,"  which  denotes,  as  Moore 
remarks,  that  "  all  is  on  the  verge  of  insanity."  At  another  time,  the 
poet  dines  here  in  company  with  Macaulay  and  Schlegel  and  Rogers,  and 
notes  that  the  latter  suffered  "  manifest  agony  from  the  German's  loud 
voice  "  ;  and  is  pleased  that  Macaulay's  universal  knowledge  and  astounding 
memory  was  able  to  confirm  his  assertion  that  Voltaire's,  "  superflu,  chose 
si  necessaire,"  was  suggested  by  a  passage  in  Pascal's  Lettres  Provinciales  ; 
and  so  on  and  so  on  ! 

Indeed  from  Moore  and  Creevey  to  Greville  and  Ticknor,  there  is 
hardly  a  journal  which  can  be  ransacked  without  some  interesting  refer- 
ence to  this  great  house  and  its  hospitable  owners  being  found.  Those 
"  cool,  grand  apartments,"  as  Lady  Eastlake  called  them,  have  been 
the  scene  of  so  many  notable  gatherings  that  one  despairs  of  doing 
justice  to  a  theme  which  lends  itself  to  so  many  ramifications.  The 
brilliant  lady  whose  words  I  have  just  quoted,  has  left  an  account  of 
a  great  concert  here,  when  hardly  less  than  2000  guests,  among  whom 
were  several  members  of  the  Royal  Family,  enjoyed  that  combination  of 
the  arts  for  which  Lansdowne  House  has  always  been  celebrated,  and 
which  was  the  dominant  note  in  the  character  of  the  third  Marquis. 

Politics  have  been  as  indissolubly  connected  with  Lansdowne  House  as 
have  music  and  painting  ;  and  here  was  held  the  first  Cabinet  Council  of  Lord 
Grey's  Administration  ;  at  which  meeting  it  was  resolved  that  Brougham 
should  be  asked  to  fill  the  office  of  Lord  Chancellor.  How  many  hardly 
less  important  meetings  have  not  been  assembled  here,  or  what  matters 

T 


2  go     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

of  State  import  have  not  been  discussed  within  its  walls,  from  the  time 
when  the  acknowledged  head  of  the  Whig  party  was  here  to  be  found 
surrounded  by  the  treasures  which  his  large-minded  enthusiasm  had 
brought  together,  prodigal  of  his  experience  and  talents  in  the  service 
of  his  country ;  to  our  own  day  when  his  descendant,  the  present  Marquis 
of  Lansdowne,  fills,  and  has  filled,  posts  as  onerous  and  distinguished  as 
did  the  third  Marquis,  and  has  in  them  all  displayed  that  courtesy,  that 
discretion,  and  those  splendid  abilities  which  appear  to  be  the  dominant 
characteristics  of  his  line  ! 


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292     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

stands  at  the  corner  of  Stanhope  Street,  and  is  thus  within  a  stone's 
throw  of  Chesterfield  House  ;  so  that  a  comparison  is  easy  between  the 
architectural  qualifications  of  the  eighteenth  and  the  nineteenth  centuries 
as  applied  to  great  mansions.  There  will  be,  I  think,  little  doubt  as 
to  which  excels  in  beauty  and  dignity. 

Stanhope  House  is  another  of  the  great  mansions  in  this  quarter 
which  have  been  the  outcome  of  commercial  success  ;  it  is  thoroughly 
mediaeval  in  treatment,  and  is  not  only  an  interesting,  but  most  successful 
experiment  in  this  style,  and  is  obviously  beautifully  built  ;  of  course, 
in  such  a  milieu  it  may  seem  rather  out  of  place,  but  this  is  an  almost 
inevitable  result  in  a  city  like  London,  where  architecture  has  borrowed 
a  hundred  styles  and  mixed  them  all  ;  and  in  this,  too,  Stanhope  House 
is  kept  in  countenance  by  No.  26  Park  Lane,  which  was  erected  by  the 
late  Mr.  Alfred  Beit,  in  the  manner  of  an  old  English  country  house, 
built  with  stone  on  which  the  lichen  seems  already  to  have  almost  taken 
its  hold,  and  which  only  requires  Park  Lane  to  be  turned  into  a  moat 
to  make  still  more  realistic.  A  splendid  winter  garden,  in  defiance  of 
chronology,  is  attached  to  the  house.  Mr.  Beit,  who  died  two  years  ago, 
had  filled  this  residence  with  a  wonderful  collection  of  pictures,  among 
which  was  that  masterpiece  of  Sir  Joshua's,  "  Lady  Cockburn  and  her 
Children,"  which  once  hung  in  the  National  Gallery,  but  which,  as  the 
result  of  legal  action,  had  to  be  returned  to  its  former  possessors.  When, 
in  course  of  time,  it  was  offered  for  sale,  Mr.  Beit  became  its  owner  at 
an  enormous  price,  and  on  his  death  he  left  it  to  the  nation  ;  so  that 
it  can  again  be  seen  by  all  the  world  in  its  permanent  home  in  Trafalgar 
Square. 

Among  other  great  houses  in  Park  Lane,  I  must  mention  Dudley 
House,  now  the  residence  of  Mr.  J.  B.  Robinson,  but  formerly  the  town 
house  of  the  late  Earl  of  Dudley,  whose  crest  and  coronet  may  still  be 
seen  on  the  front  of  it.  Here  lived  and  died  the  eccentric  Earl  of  Dudley 
(so  created  in  1827),  whose  absence  of  mind  and  habit  of  "  thinking  aloud  " 
were  responsible  for  numberless  good  stories,  and  whose  gastronomic 
propensities  were  at  one  time  famous.  Some  one  once  said  of  him  that  he 
was  a  man  "  who  promised  much,  did  little,  and  died  mad,"  but  Madame 
de  Stael  averred  that  "  he  was  the  only  man  of  sentiment  she  had  met  in 
England."  In  Dudley  House,  he  collected  some  fine  pictures,  chiefly  of 
the  Italian  schools,  which  Waagen  saw  in  1835,  and  described  with 
enthusiasm.  The  Earl  died  in  1833,  and  the  late  Lord  Dudley  added 
greatly  to  the  collection,  spending  immense  sums  on  the  acquisition  of 
perfect  examples  of  art,  not  only  as  regards  pictures,  of  which  the 
assemblage    brought   together  here  was,    as   Lady  Eastlake   says,   of   the 


LONDONDERRY   HOUSE  293 

finest  description,  but  also  china  and  bric-a-brac  ;  giving  on  one  occasion 
no  less  than  ^10,000  for  that  wonderful  Sevres  Garniture  de  Chemifiee, 
which  had  once  been  at  Croonie  Abbey,  Lord  Coventry's  place  in 
Worcestershire. 

After  Lord  Dudley's  death,  ninety-one  of  the  most  remarkable 
pictures  from  his  collection  were  sold  at  Christie's,  on  June  25,  1892, 
among  them  being  Raphael's  "  La  Vierge  a  la  Legende,"  said  once  to  have 
been  in  Charles  L's  gallery;  and  the  master's  famous  "Crucifixion,"  fully 
described  by  Passavant  and  Waagen ;  besides  a  Hobbema  of  transcendent 
merit. 

Next  to  Dudley  House  is  another  of  the  large  mansions  in  Park  Lane, 
Brook  House,  which  was  designed  by  T.  H.  Wyatt,  and  was  for  many 
years  the  residence  of  Lord  Tweedmouth,  and  one  of  the  political  centres 
of  London.  Lord  .Tweedmouth  gave  it  up  some  years  ago,  and  to-day 
it  belongs  to  Sir  Ernest  Cassell. 

Nearly  every  house  in  Park  Lane  has  more  or  less  of  interest  attached 
to  it ;  but  this  is  not  the  place  to  say  anything  about  the  memorable 
people  who  have  lived  here,  except  where  they  happen  to  be  associated  with 
one  of  the  larger  mansions  which  are  dotted  down  it  ;  let  us  therefore, 
after  this  rather  lengthy  excursus,  turn  our  attention  to  one  of  the  most 
interesting  of  these  great  mansions,  now  known  as  Londonderry  House, 
but,  at  an  earlier  date,  called  Holdernesse  House.  True,  its  exterior 
is  not  elaborate,  but,  with  its  double  frontage  to  Hertford  Street  and 
Park  Lane,  it  has  an  air  of  solid  dignity,  rather  restful  after  some  of  the 
flamboyant  characteristics  of  more  modern  erections  in  this  thoroughfare, 
and  its  interior  is  extraordinarily  fine,  and  is  surprising  to  those  seeing 
it  for  the  first  time  and  only  able  to  estimate  its  potentialities  by  the 
exterior. 

Some  of  the  great  London  houses  indicate  by  their  outward  appear- 
ance their  internal  size  and  magnificence,  and  those  who  know  the 
exteriors  of  Montagu  House,  Stafford  House,  Bridgewater  House,  and 
Dorchester  House,  will  readily  realise  that  within  they  have  the  spacious 
attributes  of  palaces  as  well  as  the  magnificence  ;  but  others  give  no 
such  indication,  and  in  this  respect  are  like  the  majority  of  the  better 
London  residences,  in  that  they  are  much  more  commodious  within 
than  they  can  be  judged  to  be  from  their  outward  appearance.  London- 
derry House  is  one  of  these,  for  although,  as  we  look  at  it  from 
Hertford  Street  or  Park  Lane,  it  is  Httle  more  than  a  large  residence,  its 
interior  arrangements  are  on  a  scale  of  size  and  splendour  which  bring  it 
well  within  the  scope  of  those  private  palaces  about  which  I  am  writing. 

As  in  nearly  all  the  great  houses  of  London,  Londonderry  House  has 


I 


294     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

been  as  associated  with  well-known  names  in  the  past  as  it  is  to-day.  It 
took  its  earlier  title  of  Holdernesse  House  from  the  fact  of  its  then 
being  the  town  residence  of  the  D'Arcys,  Earls  of  Holdernesse.  The 
last  peer  of  this  line  died  in  1778,  and  the  present  house  was  built 
on  the  site  of  the  former  residence,  in  or  about  the  year  1850,  from 
the  designs  of  S.  &  B.  Wyatt,  the  architects.  When  we  see  the 
treasures  of  ancient  sculpture  preserved  in  the  Great  Gallery  here,  it  seems 
appropriate  that  the  site  of  the  place  should  have  formerly  been  identified 
with  one  who,  as  an  early  member  of  the  Society  of  Dilettanti,  helped 
to  do  much  towards  the  investigation  and  preservation  of  those  relics 
of  antiquity  which  might  otherwise  have  been  lost  for  ever.  When, 
too,  we  remember  that  Lord  Holdernesse  was  a  statesman,  and  was  also, 
with  his  wife  a  daughter  of  Sieur  Doublet  a  noble  of  Holland,  closely 
identified  with  the  fashionable  life  of  his  day,  it  is  also  appropriate 
that  their  one-time  residence  should  now  be  in  the  hands  of  a  member 
of  a  family  so  closely  connected  with  the  political  activity  of  a  later  time, 
and  presided  over  by  a  lady  who  has  for  so  long  been  one  of  the 
acknowledged  leaders  of  society. 

The  history  of  the  mansion  between  the  period  of  Lord  Holdernesse's 
tenancy  and  that  of  the  third  Marquis  of  Londonderry  who  was  residing 
here  in  the  original  house  in  1836,  is  somewhat  obscure,  but  it  would 
seem  that  the  latter  purchased  the  property  from  Lord  Holdernesse,  some- 
where between  the  years  1830  and  1835,  and  that  about  four  years  before 
his  death  in  1854,  he  rebuilt  the  house,  as  we  have  seen,  practically  as  it 
remains  to-day. 

Lord  Londonderry,  who  married  twice — first  Lady  Catherine  Bligh, 
daughter  of  the  third  Earl  of  Darnley,  who  died  in  181 2;  and  secondly, 
in  1 8 19,  Lady  Frances  Anne,  daughter  and  heiress  of  Sir  Henry  Vane- 
Tempest  and  Anne,  Countess  of  Antrim,  who  survived  him — died  in 
1854.  He  was  a  distinguished  soldier,  indeed  one  of  Wellington's  ablest 
companions  in  arms  in  the  Peninsular,  as  well  as  during  the  campaigns 
of  1814-15,  in  which  the  power  of  Napoleon  was  finally  overthrown  ; 
he  was  also  an  eminent  diplomatist,  and  among  other  offices,  filled  that 
of  Ambassador  to  Vienna  ;  while  his  half-brother,  the  second  Marquis, 
was  the  well-known  politician,  who,  as  Lord  Castlereagh,  did  so  much 
to  crush  the  ambition  of  the  "  Corsican  upstart,"  as  it  was  then  the 
fashion  to  call  the  greatest  man  of  the  time. 

The  third  Marquis  was  succeeded  by  his  son,  who  died  in  1884,  and 
who  was  in  turn  succeeded  by  his  son,  the  present  Marquis,  who  married 
in  1875,  Lady  Theresa  Talbot,  daughter  of  the  tenth  Earl  of  Shrewsbury. 

The  present  Lord  Londonderry's  name  is  as  well  known  in  the  political 


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296     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

astonishingly  bad  for  one  who  could  on  occasion  do  really  fine  work  ;  in 
this  magnificent  portrait,  however,  he  seems  to  have  thrown  off  the  shackles 
of  his  usual  convention,  and  to  have  produced  a  genuine  masterpiece. 

In  the  Drawing  Room  there  also  hangs  a  portrait  of  Pitt  by  Hoppner, 
and  in  the  small  ante-room  at  the  end,  a  full-length  in  pastel  of  the 
present  Lady  Londonderry  by  Roberts  ;  besides  which  there  are  here, 
as  in  other  parts  of  the  house,  many  objects  of  historic  interest  and 
intrinsic  value,  some  of  which  were  presents  from  the  allied  Sovereigns 
to  the  third  Marquis. 

Lady  Londonderry's  Boudoir  is  noticeable  for  two  things ;  the 
superb  partly  domed  ceiling,  in  which  the  details  of  carving  and 
decoration  might  alone  afford  material  for  many  pages  of  description  ; 
and  the  extraordinarily  fine  collection  of  china  which,  in  the  form  of 
plates,  hangs  on  the  walls,  and  in  that  of  countless  vases  and  figures, 
helps  to  decorate  the  already  elaborately  decorated  cabinets  that  contain 
them.  The  whole  effect  is  one  of  dazzling  beauty,  and  makes  this  probably 
one  of  the  most  charming  boudoirs  in  London.  The  general  effect  of 
the  soft  colouring,  gros  bleu  and  rose  du  barri,  of  the  china,  harmonises 
with  the  tints  of  the  silk  hangings  and  furniture  coverings,  and  gives 
something  of  an  exotic  effect  to  a  room  whose  windows  look  out  on  to 
the  grey  vista  of  Park  Lane  and  the  green  of  the  Park  beyond. 

Another  room  which  contains  a  few  pictures  of  merit  is  the  Ante- 
Room  communicating  with  the  Drawing  Room.  Here  hang  a  "  St. 
John  "  by  Andrea  del  Sarto  ;  and  a  "  Virgin  and  Child  "  ascribed  to  John 
Bellini ;  a  "  Holy  Family  "  by  Francia  ;  as  well  as  a  "  Virgin  and  Child  " 
attributed  to  Bernard  van  Orlay,  or  Bernard  of  Brussels,  as  he  is 
sometimes  called. 

The  Great  Gallery,  used  on  special  occasions  as  a  Ball  Room,  is  a 
very  fine  apartment,  lighted  from  above  by  a  skylight  that  runs  its  entire 
length.  Its  decorations  are  heavily  carved  and  richly  gilded,  and  in 
niches  in  the  walls  stand  beautiful  pieces  of  sculpture,  noticeable  among 
them  being  Canova's  graceful  "Dancing  Girl,"  and  his  fine  "Venus,"  both 
famous  works  of  art.  Among  the  portraits  that  hang  here  are  full- 
lengths  of  the  Czars  Alexander  I.,  Nicholas  I.,  and  Alexander  II.,  of 
George  IV.,  and  Wellington,  and  of  the  second  Marquis  of  Londonderry; 
and  a  head  of  Napoleon  III.  is  placed  over  one  of  the  doors. 

At  that  end  of  the  room  which  opens  on  to  the  staircase,  is  Mr. 
Sargent's  fine  full-length  portrait  of  the  present  Marquis  of  London- 
derry, as  he  appeared  at  the  Coronation  of  King  Edward  VII.,  in  his 
robes,  and  bearing  the  Sword  of  State,  which  was  exhibited  at  the  Royal 
Academy  a  few  years  ago. 


LONDONDERRY   HOUSE  297 

On  the  landing  which  forms  a  kind  of  vestibule  to  the  Gallery,  hang 
two  interesting  pictures  representing  Wellington  surrounded  by  his 
Generals,  Combermere,  Picton,  Beresford,  and  the  rest ;  in  one  of  which 
figures  the  third  Marquis  of  Londonderry,  equally  notable  as  a  soldier 
and  a  statesman. 

Lord  Londonderry's  Study,  a  long  room  divided  midway  by  pillars, 
is  essentially  a  working  room,  crowded  with  the  thousand  and  one  objects 
which  have  solely  a  personal  interest,  and  which  would  preclude  any 
detailed  notice  in  a  work  such  as  this,  were  these  things  not  surrounded 
by  others  of  more  general  interest,  such  as  French  furniture  and  pictures 
and  candelabra  that  help  to  carry  the  mind  back  to  that  great  period 
of  French  decorative  art  when  the  consummate  Riesener  and  the  great 
Gouthi^re  made  artistic  every  utilitarian  object  which  they  touched. 
Here,  among  many  evidences  of  homely  twentieth-century  comfort,  one 
is  transported  by  beautiful  cabinets  and  elaborate  chandeliers  to  France 
and  its  gorgeous  eighteenth  century  ;  and  a  portrait  of  the  great  Napoleon 
carries  us  from  that  artistic  period  to  one  that  seemed  in  taste  and 
the  changed  outlook  on  life  to  be  removed  hundreds  of  years  from  it. 

The  windows  of  the  Study  look  out  on  to  Hertford  Street,  and  con- 
sequently the  room  is  dark  and  somewhat  sombre  compared  to  those 
that  receive  the  full  light  of  the  Park  and  the  wide  thoroughfare  which 
divides  the  house  from  it ;  such  as,  for  instance,  the  Dining  Room,  from 
the  windows  of  which  one  can  gaze  on  to  the  fountain  at  the  junction  of 
Hamilton  Place  and  Park  Lane,  where  Chaucer  and  Shakespeare  and 
Spenser  are  surmounted  by  a  gilded  Fame. 

In  this  latter  room  the  dominant  note  of  dead  white  is  relieved  by  a  few 
interesting  pictures ;  characteristic  works  by  Canaletto  and  Wouvermanns, 
Guardi  and  Van  der  Cappella,  hanging  next  to  portraits  of  Napoleon  L 
by  Le  Fevre,  and  George  HL  by  Sir  William  Beechey  ;  and  there  is  also 
a  small  and  quite  delightful  little  picture  of  Sir  Henry  Vane-Tempest 
by  Stroehling. 

There  is  another  large  Dining  Room  at  the  back  of  the  house,  con- 
structed, I  believe,  by  the  third  Marquis,  which  is  occasionally  used  for 
ball  suppers  and  such  like  entertainments,  for  which  it  is  admirably  fitted, 
as  it  lights  up  well  ;  otherwise  it  is  a  dark  room,  and  thus  only  appro- 
priate for  nocturnal  festivities  ;  but  when  the  table  groans  beneath  the 
weight  of  some  of  Lord  Londonderry's  splendid  silver-gilt  racing  trophies, 
such  as,  for  instance,  that  won  by  the  famous  "  Hambletonian,"  at 
Doncaster,  in  1796,  and  the  lights  of  the  room  are  reflected  in  their 
dazzling  surfaces,  then  it  presents  a  scene  of  splendour,  as  it  did  when 


298     THE   PRIVATE  PALACES   OF   LONDON 

the  King  of  Spain  was  entertained  here,  which  LucuUus  might  have 
envied  and  Petronius  described. 

In  spite  of  the  magnificence  of  its  interior,  Londonderry  House 
is  essentially  home-like,  and  what  is  termed  "  comfortable,"  and  its 
splendid  rooms  with  their  massive  and  rich  decorations  are,  perhaps,  the 
less  noticeable,  because  the  eye  is  attracted  by  so  many  objects  of 
personal    interest. 

The  pictures  hanging  on  the  walls  are,  too,  compared  with  such 
wondrous  collections  as  those  at  Bridgewater  House,  Stafford  House,  or 
Grosvenor  House,  to  mention  but  these,  of  relatively  small  account, 
but  set  side  by  side  with  the  pictorial  contents  of  many  other  more 
ambitious  dwellings,  they  fully  hold  their  own  in  interest  and  value  ; 
and  when  the  importance  of  the  family  which  has  been  for  so  many 
years  now  identified  with  the  mansion  is  considered  ;  when  the  notable 
gatherings  which  have  so  often  taken  place  within  its  walls  are  remembered, 
Londonderry  House  properly  takes  its  place  among  those  great  mansions 
which  are  at  once  the  pride  and  wonder  of  London. 


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300    THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF  LONDON 

in  1900,  and  based  on  the  old  print  of  Whitehall  as  it  was  in  1681/  taken 
by  John  Fisher  and  engraved  by  Vertue.  By  this  plan  it  will  be  seen 
that  Montagu  House  occupies  the  site  of  various  lodgings  in  the  palace 
which  were  formerly  allocated  to  Prince  Rupert,  Sir  Edward  Walker,  the 
Prince  of  Wales,  the  Earl  of  Lauderdale,  and  Mrs.  Kirk;  and  the  front 
portion  facing  Whitehall,  stands  on  part  of  that  ample  Privy  Garden 
which  extended  more  than  half-way  across  the  present  thoroughfare, 
where  once  stood  the  sun-dial  on  which  Andrew  Marvell  wrote  a  severe 
epigram,  and  where,  on  a  celebrated  occasion,  honest  Pepys  saw  "  the  finest 
smocks  and  linen  petticoats  "  belonging  to  Lady  Castlemaine  fluttering 
in  the  wind  ;   which  it  did  him  good  to  look  at  !  ^ 

It  will  thus  be  seen  that  no  other  private  residence  in  London  occupies 
such  an  historic  site  as  does  the  mansion  of  the  Duke  of  Buccleuch  ;  for 
besides  the  ghosts  of  Carolean  days  that  haunt  this  spot,  it  must  also 
be  remembered  that  so  early  as  1240,  Hubert  de  Burgh  built  a  large 
dwelling  here,  which  at  that  time  was  called  "  More,"  and  was  situated 
between  the  Hospital  of  St.  James,  and  the  moor  or  marsh  then  in 
the  possession  of  John  Chancellor,  as  Smith,  in  his  Antiquities  of  West- 
minster, tells  us.  The  place  having  subsequently  become  the  property 
of  the  Preaching  or  Black  Friars,  that  fraternity  sold  it  to  Walter  de 
Grey,  Archbishop  of  York,  from  whose  day  till  the  fall  of  Wolsey  it  was 
the  ofiicial  residence  of  the  holders  of  that  See.  York  Place,  as  it  was 
then  called,  owed  its  chief  glory  to  the  magnificent  conception  of  the 
great  Cardinal  on  whose  fall  in  1529,  it  came  into  the  possession  of 
Henry  VHL  ;  and  from  this  time  till  the  fire  which  practically  demolished 
it  in  1698,  it  was  the  chief  royal  residence  in  London. 

Without  attempting  to  fill  up  this  outHne,  it  will,  I  think,  be  sufficient, 
to  enable  the  imagination  to  rehabilitate  the  life  of  four  centuries,  and 
to  people  the  site  of  Montagu  House  with  a  crowd  of  historical  personages. 
Hubert  de  Burgh,  the  great  champion  of  civil  rights  ;  the  princely  priest 
with  his  liveried  army  ;  the  burly  monarch  who  concentrated  in  his 
person  all  the  great  qualities  and  grave  defects  of  the  Tudors  ;  the  "  fair 
virgin  throned  in  the  west  "  who  inherited  those  great  qualities  ;  the 
martyr-king  who  lost  his  throne  and  his  life  for  an  idea  ;  and  the  merry 
monarch  who  was  perhaps  too  clever  as  well,  maybe,  as  too  indolent  to 
run  the  risk  of  losing  either.  These,  with  the  crowd  of  notable  personages 
surrounding  them,  may  well  be  conjured  up,  as  we  stand  on  the  spot 
where  they  once  moved  and  had  their  being.     But  we  are  rather  now 

1  This  has  been  ingeniously  done  by  superimposing  the  outlines  of  the  palace  on  a  current 
Ordnance  Survey. 

"  Diary,  May  21,  1662. 


MONTAGU   HOUSE  301 

concerned  with  the  house  that  arose  on  the  site  of  the  old  palace,  than 
with  the  illustrious  ones  who  peopled  the  latter. 

Almost  twenty  years  after  the  fire  which  destroyed  the  whole  of  the 
palace  with  the  exception  of  the  Banqueting  Hall  and  some  unimportant 
buildings  adjoining  it,  and  devoured  those  pictures  and  furniture  which 
Evelyn  bemoans  in  his  diary,  Robert,  Viscount  Molesworth,  obtained  a 
lease  for  a  term  of  thirty-one  years  from  1719,  of  a  small  piece  of  ground 
having  about  seventy  feet  frontage  with  a  depth  of  ten  feet  ;  five  years 
later  Colonel  Charles  Churchill  also  obtained  a  lease  of  another  piece  of 
land  adjoining  on  the  south,  and  thus  lying  between  Lord  Molesworth's 
acquisition  and  the  river ;  the  extent  of  the  whole,  together  with,  as  we 
shall  see,  a  further  portion,  being  practically  equivalent  to  the  site  which 
Montagu  House  and  its  grounds  now  occupy. 

It  would  appear  that  soon  after,  both  these  leases  became  vested  in 
John,  second  Duke  of  Montagu,  for,  in  1731,  we  find  him  petitioning 
for  an  extension  of  them  and  also  for  a  fresh  lease  of  additional  land 
adjoining.  These  extensions  he  obtained  for  a  further  term  of  thirty- 
one  years,  and  immediately  began  the  erection  of  old  Montagu  House, 
which  appears  to  have  been  completed  two  years  later,  as  it  was  then 
valued  at  /^200  per  annum.  A  drawing  is  preserved  in  the  British  Museum 
showing  the  old  house  as  it  appeared  in  1825,  and  from  this  we  can  see 
how,  commodious  though  it  was,  it  fell  short  of  the  splendid  palace  which 
was  to  replace  it.^  The  stables  are  shown  adjoining  it  to  the  east,  and 
it  was  for  the  accommodation  of  these  buildings  that  the  Duke  petitioned 
for  a  lease  of  the  piece  of  ground  on  which  they  stood,  in  1733,  in  which 
year  he  also  obtained  a  fresh  lease  of  the  whole  property  for  fifty  years. 
On  the  south-west  side  of  the  house,  as  shown  in  the  drawing,  are  obvious 
additions  to  the  main  structure,  and  it  was  probably  with  a  view  to  their 
erection  that  the  Duke  again  applied  for  another  lease  of  certain  land 
"  lately  used  as  a  Passage  to  the  water  side,"  at  which  time  he  also 
petitioned  for  a  lease  of  some  of  the  foreshore  "  where,"  as  the  memorial 
quaintly  phrases  it,  "  quantityes  of  mudd  and  filth  of  all  kinds  collect 
and  settle,  to  the  great  nuisance  and  damage  of  your  memorialist,  whose 
habitation  is  thereby  rendered,  after  all  the  expense  he  hath  been  at, 
very  unwholesome."  ^ 

The  Duke  of  Montagu,  who  made  these  various  applications  for  the 
improvement  of  his  property,  and  whose  portrait  by  Kneller  bears  out 
the  remark  of  Stukeley  that  "  his  aspect  was  grand,  manly,  and  full  of 

>  The  fine  view  of  Whitehall  by  Canaletto,  which  now  hangs  in  Montagu  House,  shows 
the  old  residence  on  the  right  hand.  This  picture  used  to  be  at  Dalkeith,  where  Waagen  saw 
it,  and  described  it  as  "very  interesting." 

-  Quoted  in  The  Uld  I'alacc  of  Whitehall,  by  the  Rev.  Canon  Sheppard. 


302     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

dignity,"  ^  died  in  1749,  ^^'^  ^°^  ^  ^^"^^  ^^^  Crown  seems  to  have  enjoyed 
a  not  unmerited  rest  from  further  appHcations  for  renewal  of  leases. 
However  in  1767  the  Duke's  executors  bestirred  themselves,  and  obtained, 
in  the  following  year,  a  new  reversionary  lease  of  all  the  premises  com- 
prised in  the  former  leases  on  behalf,  in  trust,  of  Mary,  Countess  of 
Cardigan,  the  Duke's  daughter  and  heiress,  whose  husband  was  created, 
in  1766,  Duke  of  Montagu,  and  who,  on  the  death  of  his  father-in-law  in 
1749,  had  assumed  the  name  and  arms  of  Montagu.  This  Duke,  who 
died  in  1790,  left  only  one  child  (EHzabeth)  surviving  at  his  death,  who 
became  Duchess  of  Buccleuch,  having  married  in  1767  the  third  Duke 
of  Buccleuch  and  fifth  Duke  of  Queensberry  ;  and  she,  under  the  will 
of  her  grandfather,  John,  had  a  life  interest  in  the  house  and  grounds, 
which  thus,  through  her,  passed  to  their  present  ducal  owner.  In  1 8 10, 
a  sixty-one  years'  lease  of  the  whole  was  granted  to  Henry,  Duke  of 
Buccleuch,  which  lease,  however,  was  surrendered  in  1855,  and  fifteen 
years  later  a  fresh  one  for  ninety-nine  years  was  granted  ;  the  fifth  Duke 
having  begun  the  erection  of  Montagu  House,  which  is  to-day  one  of 
the  most  imposing  of  the  private  palaces  of  London,  in  1858. 

William  Burn,  the  architect  of  the  mansion,  chose  as  his  leading  motif 
that  French  Renaissance  style  which  is  so  particularly  effective  where  ample 
space  is  available  for  its  proper  development,  and  which  so  well  harmonises 
with  surrounding  buildings  when  they  are,  as  is  here  the  case,  constructed 
of  stone  ;  the  mansarde  roof  which  has  been  most  unjustly  stigmatised 
as  an  architectural  absurdity,  adds  dignity  to  the  building,  and  helps  to 
give  its  elevation  an  importance  which,  in  consequence  of  the  lower 
level  of  the  ground  on  which  the  house  is  built,  would  hardly  have  been 
attained  by  any  other  scheme  of  architecture. 

An  interesting  circumstance  connected  with  the  erection  of  Montagu 
House  is  the  fact  that  when  the  original  edifice  was  pulled  down, 
practically  the  whole  of  the  materials  was  ground  down  and  formed 
into  concrete  for  the  foundations  of  the  new  house,  and  thus  helped 
with  other  elaborate  methods  to  make  it  water-tight  ;  a  necessary  pre- 
caution, when  it  is  remembered  that  in  those  days  the  Embankment 
was  not  formed,  and  the  tides  of  the  adjacent  river  were  even  less  under 
control  than  they  are  at  present  ;  added  to  which,  two  streams  formerly 
ran  from  this  spot  to  the  ornamental  water  in  St.  James's  Park,  the  closing 

'  It  was  apropos  of  the  will  of  this  Diike  that  Walpole  thus  writes  to  Montagu  on  July  20, 
1 749  :  "  There  are  two  codicils,  one  in  favour  of  his  servants,  the  other  of  his  dogs,  cats, 
and  creatures,  which  was  a  little  unnecessary,  for  Lady  Cardigan  has  exactly  his  turn  for 
saving  everj'thing's  life.  As  he  \vas  making  the  codicil,  one  of  his  cats  jumped  on  his  knee. 
'What,'  says  he,  'have  you  a  mind  to  be  a  witness,  too  !  You  can't,  for  you  are  a  party 
concerned.'" 


MONTAGU   HOUSE  303 

of  which  caused  some  of  the  adjacent  residences  in  Whitehall  to  crack 
badly. 

Of  the  many  noble  houses  which  at  one  time  clustered  together  on 
this  spot,  Montagu  House  is  the  only  one  that  survives,  in  its  recon- 
structed form,  as  the  town  house  of  the  family  with  which  it  has  always 
been  identified.  As  we  have  seen,  in  a  former  chapter,  Richmond  House 
has  disappeared  altogether,  and  Richmond  Terrace  stands  on  its  site  ; 
Portland  House  has  long  since  passed  away,  as  has  Carrington  House  to 
make  room  for  the  new  War  Office  buildings,  while  Holdernesse  House 
and  Pembroke  House,  to  mention  but  these,  have  been  metamorphosed 
into  subsidiary  Government  offices.  Montagu  House  alone  stands  in 
solitary  glory,  the  most  easterly  of  those  great  houses  which  form  one  of 
the  most  dignified  features  of  London.  When  the  fifth  Duke  obtained 
his  long  lease,  he  was  bound  by  its  conditions  to  spend  ^20,000  on  the 
house  he  was  to  erect,  but  although  the  stone  for  its  construction  was 
brought  straight  from  Portland  by  water  and  landed  on  the  garden  side  of 
the  building,  where  the  Embankment  now  runs,  and  thus  a  large  saving  in 
freightage  effected,  the  total  cost  amounted  to  nearly  five  times  that  sum ! 

The  interior,  both  in  decoration  and  contents,  is  fully  commensurate 
with  its  outward  appearance,  and  shows  that  not  only  was  money  lavishly 
expended  on  its  beautification,  but  that  consummate  taste  and  judgment 
were  also  exercised.  Five  great  rooms :  the  Drawing  Room,  the  Ball 
Room,  the  Dining  Room,  the  Saloon,  and  the  Duke's  Sitting  Room,  are 
particularly  noticeable,  not  only  for  the  beauty  of  their  ceilings,  which 
are  alone  things  of  joy  in  themselves,  but  also  on  account  of  the  splendid 
furniture,  the  exquisite  porcelain,  as  well  as  those  masterpieces  in  half-a- 
dozen  arts  which  we  are  accustomed  to  call  objets  d'art,  probably  because 
their  ■provhiance  is  principally  from  the  land  of  BouUe  and  Riesener, 
Pigalle  and  Gouthi^re,  and  also  because,  although  our  country  is  so  rich 
in  their  possession,  we  have  not  yet  coined  a  word  that  seems  to  logically 
suffice  for  their  description  as  a  whole.  But  the  chief  importance  of  the 
collection  which  is  contained  in  Montagu  House  consists  in  its  wonderful 
Vandycks  and  its  incomparable  series  of  miniatures. 

The  Duke's  Sitting  Room  contains  several  portraits  of  particular 
interest,  and  there  also  hang  on  the  walls  four  landscapes  by  Zuccarelli 
of  great  merit,  as  well  as  two  by  Jacques  Courtois,  both  portraying  those 
cavalry  engagements  in  the  pictorial  description  of  which  this  painter 
was  so  happy  ;  Guido  Reni  is  represented  by  "  The  Magdalen,"  arrayed 
in  loose  pink  drapery ;  and  there  are  two  Italian  landscapes  by  Jan 
Asselin.  The  portraits  include  a  head  and  shoulders  of  Sir  Ralph 
Winwood,  whose  collection  of  State  documents  is  a  standard  authority 


304     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF    LONDON 

for  the  reigns  of  Elizabeth  and  her  two  successors,  by  Mierevelt ;  and  a 
presentment  of  himself  by  John  Riley,  whom  Walpole  calls  "  one  of  the 
best  native  painters  that  has  flourished  in  England,"  who,  had  he  possessed 
a  quarter  of  Kneller's  vanity,  "  might  have  persuaded  the  world  he  was 
as  great  a  master,"  and  who  lies  buried  in  Bishopsgate  Church.  Another 
portrait  of  a  painter  hanging  in  this  room  is  that  of  himself  by  Furini, 
who,  in  his  more  characteristic  work,  is  said  to  have  combined  the  beauty 
of  Guido  with  the  grace  of  Albano.  From  Lely's  hand  is  a  head  and 
bust  of  the  Duke  of  Monmouth,  while  Robert  Walker  is  responsible  for 
a  "  kit-cat  "  picture  of  the  Protector,  who  employed  him  not  infrequently 
to  portray  his  coarse  features  ;  but  a  greater  than  Walker  is  here  in  the 
person  of  William  Dobson,  of  whom  there  are  two  works  ;  one  a  portrait 
of  Hobbes  ;  the  other  that  of  George  Gordon,  second  Marquis  of 
Huntly.  Dobson,  who  succeeded  Vandyck  as  Sergeant  Painter  to  the 
King,  accompanied  Charles  I.  to  Oxford  during  the  civil  wars,  and  there 
painted  portraits  of  him  and  several  of  the  nobility,  among  whom  may 
have  been  the  subject  of  this  latter  picture,  who  we  know  was  a  devoted 
royalist. 

There  is  also  here  a  remarkably  fine  portrait,  by  Beechy,  of  the  Duke 
of  Montagu  in  the  Windsor  uniform  and  wearing  the  star  of  the  Garter, 
as  well  as  a  life-size  picture  of  the  fifth  Duke  of  Buccleuch,  represented 
as  sitting  in  this  very  room,  by  Knighton  Warren  ;  but  the  gems  of  the 
apartment  are  from  the  hands  of  Reynolds  and  Gainsborough.  Sir 
Joshua's  canvas  represents  Lady  Elizabeth  Montagu,  Duchess  of  Buccleuch, 
daughter  of  the  Duke  of  Montagu,  and  wife  of  the  third  Duke  of  Buccleuch. 
She  is  represented  in  old  age,  seated  and  wearing  a  dress  of  grey  silk, 
with  a  shawl  hanging  over  her  arms.  The  picture  is  one  of  the  few  signed 
by  the  painter,  and  bears  his  initials  and  the  date,  1755,  upon  it.  Lady 
Elizabeth  must  have  been  one  of  the  hundred  and  twenty  people  who 
sat  to  Reynolds  in  this  year,  a  year  when  his  fame  was  increasing  by  leaps 
and  bounds  ;  but  curiously  enough  her  name  does  not  appear  in  his  list 
of  sitters.  By  Gainsborough,  is  the  portrait  of  Lady  Mary  Montagu, 
daughter  of  the  second  Duke  of  Montagu,  and  afterwards  wife  of  the 
Earl  of  Cardigan,  created  Duke  of  Montagu,  in  1766,  whose  portrait  by 
Beechy  I  have  just  mentioned. 

In  the  Duchess's  Boudoir  hang  several  interesting  pictures,  notably 
two  portraits,  male  and  female,  by  Pourbus  the  elder  ;  and  particularly 
a  work  by  one  of  the  many  followers  of  Holbein,  Penne  or  Toto  or  Horne- 
band,  who  were  all  in  Henry  VHL's  employment,  representing  the  King, 
Edward,  Prince  of  Wales,  and  the  Princesses  Mary  and  Elizabeth,  with  the 
inevitable  Will  Somers,  the  jester,  in  the  background. 


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3o6     THE   PRIVATE   PALACES   OF   LONDON 

The  catholicity  of  taste  observable  in  the  Drawing  Room  is  also 
to  be  found  among  the  pictures  in  the  Ante-Room.  Here  the  Italian, 
Spanish,  Dutch,  and  Flemish  schools  are  represented,  and  here,  too,  hangs 
Sir  Godfrey  Kneller's  portrait  of  John,  Duke  of  Montagu,  as  a  young 
man,  as  well  as  Eustache  le  Sueur's  "  Joseph  of  Arimathaea." 

Of  the  Italians,  we  have  Raphael,  with  a  portion  of  a  cartoon,  apparently 
an  "  Ecce  Homo  " ;  Carlo  Dolci,  and  Sohmena,  and  Andrea  del  Sarto ; 
Pietro  da  Cortona  and  Carlo  Maratti,  represented  by  the  sacred  subjects 
with  which  their  names  are  generally  associated.  The  two  Murillos  here, 
represent  respectively  "  The  Virgin  and  Saviour,"  and  "  St.  John  the  Baptist 
as  a  Child,"  seated  in  a  rocky  landscape  ;  and  there  are  also  in  this 
room  landscapes  by  Peter  Roos,  and  Cuyp  ;  three  of  Van  der  Neer's 
familiar  and  beautiful  moonlight  scenes,  and  genre  pieces  by  Ostade, 
Teniers,  and  Peter  de  Hooghe,  the  latter  a  fine  picture  portraying  a 
lady  knitting  and  seated  in  a  room,  through  the  door  of  which  is  seen 
a  distant  view  of  a  town  bathed  in  sunshine. 

In  the  Gallery  among  the  twenty-seven  works  that  hang  on  the  walls, 
there  are  four  of  Monnoyer's  graceful  flower  pieces.  This  painter 
adorned  the  palaces  of  Versailles,  Marly,  Meudon,  and  Trianon  with 
his  work,  and  thus  attracted  the  attention  of  Lord  Montagu,  then 
Ambassador  to  France,  at  whose  invitation  he  came  to  England  where 
he  remained  some  twenty  years,  during  which  time  he  was  largely  occupied 
in  producing  those  flower  pieces  for  Montagu  House,  which  are  con- 
sidered the  finest  of  his  works. 

Another  foreigner  who  visited  this  country  was  John  Griffier,  the 
friend  of  Rembrandt  and  Adrian  Van  der  Velde,  the  manner  of  which 
latter,  by-the-bye,  he  was  wont  to  imitate,  whose  "  View  of  the  Thames, 
looking  over  Westminster  Bridge,"  hangs  in  the  Gallery.  Griffier  came 
to  England  in  1667,  and  died  here  in  1718  ;  his  chief  patron  was  the 
Duke  of  Beaufort,  but  he  seems  to  have  been  well  supported  generally. 
There  is  also  a  similar  view  by  Canaletto,  who,  it  will  be  remembered, 
came  to  this  country  on  the  advice  of  his  friend  Amiconi,  and  during 
his  two  years'  stay  here  produced  a  number  of  fine  and  interesting  views 
of  London.^  Another  particularly  valuable  pictorial  "  document,"  is 
Marcellas  Laroon  the  younger's  picture  of  "  A  Party  in  Old  Montagu 
House,"  because  it  not  only  shows  us  part  of  the  interior  of  the  original 
mansion,  but  also  because  it  indicates  that  the  Duke  of  Montagu 
was  one  of  Laroon's  many  patrons  ;  while  another  topographical  picture 
in  the  Gallery  is  Anderson's  "  View  on  the  Thames,  looking  towards 
Westminster  Bridge,"  which  is  signed,  and  dated  1810. 

'  At  Dalkeith  Palace,  in  the  Canaletto  Room,  are  ten  of  his  masterpieces  in  this  genre. 


MONTAGU   HOUSE  307 

Of  the  portraits,  there  is  that  of  WiUiam  Dobson,  by  the  artist 
himself  ;  a  picture  of  Henry  VIII.,  of  the  school  of  Holbein  ;  Rave- 
steign's  picture  of  an  unknown  man  ;  Sir  Peter  Lely's  EUzabeth  Percy, 
Duchess  of  Somerset,  as  a  child,  and  the  same  artist's  presentment  of 
EHzabeth,  Countess  of  Northumberland,  who  afterwards  married  Ralph, 
Duke  of  Montagu  ;  and  a  copy  of  the  head  of  Marie  de  Medicis  by 
Rubens  ;  while  from  the  brush  of  Sir  Antonio  Moro,  is  that  of  a  man 
in  a  black  doublet,  whose  identity  is  not  satisfactorily  accounted  for, 
and  Zuccero's  Edward  VI.  on  a  white  horse,  of  which  picture  it  is  said 
that  it  originally  represented  Francis  I.,  but  that  the  head  of  the  Enghsh 
monarch  was  substituted,  probably  by  Sir  E.  Montagu,  who  was  the 
King's  tutor,  and  to  whom  the  work  belonged. 

In  the  West  Drawing  Room  are  some  fine  examples  of  the  Dutch 
school  of  landscape  painting  by  such  artists  as  Jacobus  van  Artois  ;  Jacob 
Ruysdael,  of  whom  there  are  two  ;  Pijnacker,  and  Paul  Brill ;  Van  Romeyn, 
and  Van  der  Neer.  There  is  also  Canaletto's  extremely  interesting  and 
valuable  "  View  of  Whitehall,"  taken  from  the  vicinity  of  old  Montagu 
House.  Besides  these  works,  are  a  number  of  pictures  representing 
sacred  subjects,  such  as  Giulio  Romano's  "  Virgin  and  Child,"  SoUmena's 
"  Mary  Magdalen  washing  the  Feet  of  the  Saviour,"  Bassano's  "  Entomb- 
ment," and  Vandyck's  "  Virgin  Mary  and  Infant  Christ  "  ;  and  among 
the  portraits  is  that  of  a  lady  in  a  crimson  dress  by  Lorenzo  Lotto,  and 
a  portrait  of  a  man  by  the  same  artist  ;  a  full-length  of  James,  first  Duke 
of  Hamilton,  by  Gonzales  Coques,  as  well  as  that  painter's  copy  of  Van- 
dyck's "  Lady  Frances  Seymour,  Countess  of  Southampton  "  ;  a  portrait 
of  Martin  Luther,  by  Lucas  Cranach,  and  Clouet's  head  of  Anthony, 
King  of  Navarre  ;  while,  to  make  an  end,  Frans  Hals  is  represented  by 
a  pair — one,  a  young  lad  playing  on  the  flute,  the  other,  a  young  girl 
dressed  in  a  yellow  gown,  and  both  executed  with  that  bravura  which 
stamps  all  the  best  work  of  this  great  master. 

The  portraits  in  the  Drawing  Room  include  that  of  a  lady  by  Sir 
Antonio  Moro  ;  Kneller's  James,  Duke